Contrary to what you might think, cooking with wine is simple. Now that we got that out of the way, budding cooks can gain a lot when they learn how to cook with wine. Some flavors remain locked and unused without the assistance of wine. Its ability to release the taste of foods is unparalleled in fine cuisine. So, let’s start with the basics.
How Much is Too Much
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cooking with wine; however, it is better to start with a little and then add more if you feel the dish needs more. It is important to realize that the flavor of wine when it is used in cooking doesn’t come from the alcohol but from the true nature of the wine. In fact, very little alcohol is left in a finished dish, as most of it will evaporate.
You can boil down or reduce wine to intensify its flavor. You can make sweet wine sweeter by doing this because you are concentrating it. Be careful of this fact because you have to leave room for the cooking process. If the taste is just right at the beginning, it may be too much when you are done cooking.
What Kinds of Wine Are Best for Cooking
Not just any wine will do. A wine that tastes good when drunk will taste good when cooked with. On the same note, an awful tasting wine will taste even worse when put in food. You don’t need to splurge and get a $100 bottle – you’ll just end up not using it as much as you should. There are many good priced one out there. A $10 bottle could work fine. You just have to search a little harder.
Begin with a basic red or white wine that you have previously tasted and enjoyed. Using a strange wine you haven’t tried before is too risky for an important dinner. Sauvignon Blanc is perfect for marinades, sauting, chicken, and seafood. For red meats or sauces with red meat as a base, any variety of Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon works best.
Stay away from wine with a heavy oak flavor. This leaves a bitter taste in food. Overly fruity and acidic wine will alter the natural taste of food too much and are also not recommended.
Tips for Cooking with Wine The more you cook with wine, the better you will get at determining how it will affect and flavor your dishes. Here are six good tips to help you get started:
You will soon get comfortable enough to come up with your own ideas. But until that moment comes, try these tips: Experiment with replacing water in a recipe with wine for more flavor. Your brown gravy will be tastier with a few tablespoons of wine. Make the gravy in the pan you baked, broiled, or fried with. Wine will deglaze the pan, removing and dissolving caramelized bits of food and adding it to your gravy. Guests will wonder how you did it. Marinate meat and poultry in a mixture of wine and your favorite flavored oil. Use warm wine for cooking. Wine above room temperature has a tenderizing effect on meats. Cold wine has the opposite effect, so avoid it if you don’t want to end up with meat resembling shoe leather. Red meats like beef and lamb needs stronger flavor. A dry red wine works best. White meat, poultry, and fish tend to get overpowered easily so a light, white wine is needed. Try to balance a meal by serving the same wine you cooked with. If that is not possible at least keep reds with reds and whites with whites. Never mix the two.
Cooking with wine is a great way to add a new dimension to your favorite recipes. It only takes some experimentation to realize which wines are your favorites to cook with!
Michelle is a season article author on the topic of family meals. She just really loves sharing with us her helpful hints and great tips on making crock pot or possibly crock pot beef stew.