There are a few great reasons to cook with wine. Wine can add another layer of flavor to sauces, the alcohol in the wine can bring different flavors out of other ingredients in a dish, and wine is also used to add acidity to a dish! There are both white and red wines for cooking that can help you take your cooking skills to the next level. Some recipes need the wine in order to come out tasting just right, like chicken masala for example! But beware, cooking with wine is not as easy as splashing your favorite Moscato into any random dish! Here are some tips for cooking with wine to get you started!
Cooking with wine is a great way to impress others with your cooking skills, so get started today with some of the best tips for cooking with wine.
Rule #1- Use only the red wines that you would drink on their own.
Rule #2- Don’t use red wines that you wouldn’t drink on their own.
Rule #3- Labels lie! Wines that claim to be made for cooking are usually saltier and have other additives that could ruin the recipe!
Now that you know the rules, let’s take a look at some tips I use when cooking with wine.
Wine serves a few different purposes when added to a recipe. Wine is meant to enhance the flavor of a meal and add aroma the dish. It’s very important to choose the right wine to pair with the right dish. The goal is to get the wine to compliment the flavors, not fight them or overtake them.
Red or White?
You could go to the store, grab the first wine you see, and throw it in a recipe that calls for “Dry wine”. Then again, you could also go to a dealership and ask them for a red car hoping you’d get the car you wanted in the first place. Red wines bring out great flavors in red meats and vegetable stews. White wines are better for sauces and they go much better with white meats. Basically, if you would drink the wine WITH the dish, you can COOK the dish with the same wine.
The Quality Debate
Rule #1 and #2 both state essentially the same thing, don’t use wine you wouldn’t drink by itself. Some say that doesn’t matter, but others say it really does. When it comes to quality of wine approach it the way you would any wine to drink. Here are my thoughts on it: You could get a cheap burger at a fast food joint and it will taste just fine. Then again, if you spend $20 on a burger, you know it is going to be of high quality. The ingredients are just as important as the final product. Use a good quality wine, just don’t feel like you need to throw a cup of your $2,000 bottle in your sauce recipe…Unless you really want to of course!
The Alcohol IS There
When cooking with wine, studies have shown that the alcohol isn’t totally gone. No, my wife and I have never gotten drunk, or even tipsy off of a good masala sauce. However, the alcohol is still there and to some that’s an important fact! It is true that the alcohol evaporates while it cooks, but it would take a long time to truly burn off ALL of the alcohol.
When to Add Wine
Wine is meant to do a few things: add acidity to a dish or enhance a flavor that’s already present in the dish. The perfect time to add the wine is as soon as possible. Any recipe that requires wine usually requires it early in the simmering process.
What Does This Mean?
Recipes aren’t always specific when calling for wine. Usually, you will find ingredients like “dry wine” and then be left wondering what to add or buy. Here is the guideline that I find useful.
- Dry Wine- Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio
- Full Bodied Wine- Cabernet, Bordeaux, Syrah, or Zinfandel
- Robust Wine- Rioja or Beaujolais Nouveau
- Medium Bodied Wine- Merlot, Shiraz, or Chianti
- Dry White Wine- Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, or Sauvignon Blanc
- Fruity White Wine- Gewurztraminer, Riesling, or Viognier
- Fortified Wine- Marsala, Vermouth, Sherry, Port, or Madeira
Ditch The Lemon or Lime
When marinating meat it’s important to have an acidic ingredient in the marinade. Wine has acidity and serves the purpose even better than lemons, limes, or a tart sauce. When cooking meat that has been marinated with wine the moisture is kept in place. The acid in the wine also melds the flavors together perfectly while adding flavor to the meat.
Believe it or not, wine is healthy for you–in moderation! Use it wisely in your meal and impress your date, wife, or friends! Hey, even if you don’t get to impress anyone at least you will have a DELICIOUS meal! Don’t forget that following the rules means you will have some awesome wine on hand to sample at your leisure…