Pairing red wine with meals helps draw out the flavors of the main dish. Cooking with red wine serves the same purpose. While red-wine recipes may seem intimidating to a beginner cook, they’re not too difficult and can help you create an outstanding main dish. Cooking with Red Wine When used on the stovetop (as opposed to in a marinade), the most common way of using red wine is in sauce recipes. A good red wine sauce can make a huge difference in the flavor or texture of food, depending on what type of wine you choose. For example, fortified wines like port or marsala wine usually result in a sauce that’s rich, thick and sweet. On the other hand, sauces made with dry red wines add earthy flavor to beef and lamb recipes.
A lot of people think cooking with wine is a task that can be mastered only by top chefs in five-star restaurants. However, cooking with wine can be quite simple, and even the most average cook can prepare a lot of recipes in the most average kitchen. Cooking with wine adds a depth and flavor to food that makes even the simplest dish seem complex. Marinating meat or fish in a red or white wine marinade transforms the meat, and there are many recipes that call for white or red wine sauces. Here are some tips on how to incorporate wine into some of your dishes. Wines Used in Cooking A lot of people become intimidated by the number of wines that are available for cooking. When a recipe calls for a cup of red wine, will any red wine do? What if it calls for a dry red wine? Here are some suggestions for wines that adapt well to cooking: American Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice for recipes that call for dry white wine. On the other hand, a strong-flavored dish would benefit from a more robust white wine, such as a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. Your choice of red wine depends very much on the nature of the recipe. Light-flavored dishes might require Chianti or a Pinot Noir. Strong-flavored meats such as lamb would need more powerful reds, such as a Zinfandel. In addition, fortified wines, with their intense flavors, lend themselves well to cooking. Madeira, Sherry, Port and Marsala are commonly seen in cooking with wine recipes. Cooking Wines There are many cooking wines sold on grocery store shelves. Few, if any, deserve to be used in a cooking with wine recipe. Cooking wines are comprised of thinned wines mixed with salt. These “wines” lack the complexity of real wines, and no professional chef would use them. A decent bottle of real wine doesn”t cost much more than cooking wine and adds much more flavor to dishes. Cooking with Wine: Wine Quality When cooking with wine, keep in mind an old cooking adage: Never cook with wine you wouldn”t drink. An undrinkable vintage won”t magically transform into a delicious red wine sauce or white wine marinade. Instead, an inferior wine will add bitterness and/or a sour taste to the meal. Always use a good-quality wine for cooking. Good quality offers two advantages: The food will taste better, and you”ll have something to sip on while you cook! Using Wine in Your Kitchen Wine and food has enjoyed a long partnership, and cooking with wine marries the two in many ways. Why not try combining food and your favorite vintage in the following ways: After cooking meats in a pan, use wine to deglaze the pan and make a rich sauce. Make a salad dressing by mixing wine, herbs and olive oil. Marinate meat and poultry in red or white wine marinades and white wine marinades. Make red wine sauces and white wine sauces for pasta, vegetables, meat, […]