Today we’re going to focus on tips for cooking with wine. Over the years, I’ve picked up a number of these tips that I’d love to share with you. I’m hoping you can add to my list. I’ll use a Q&A format to help us out.
Basic Tips for Cooking with Wine
Question: What wines should I use?
Answer: For whites, Sauvignon Blanc is a good bet for most dishes. If you are making a rich, buttery dish, Chardonnay would be a better fit. For reds, a cabernet, zinfandel or merlot will work well.
Question: Do you recommend using cooking wines that you can buy at the store for very good prices?
Answer: No. Cooking wine is poor quality wine with added salt. You never want to cook with poor quality wine.
Question: How about using a bottle that’s been open for a few too many days?
Answer: No. You never want to cook with a wine that you wouldn’t want to drink. Julia Child said it best: “If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it, for a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one.”
Question: What happens to the alcohol and the sulfites in the wine?
Answer: Most of the alcohol burns off, and the sulfites evaporate.
Question: Do you need to use the best wine?
Answer: No. A good wine is perfectly fine. Save the best wine to drink with the meal.
Question: What if I decide to use a premium wine?
Answer: If you insist on using a premium wine, to preserve the flavor, don’t simmer the wine for too long, and cook the wine slowly without letting it come to a boil.
More Advanced Tips for Cooking with Wine
Question: What are the benefits of adding wine to my dishes?
Answer: Wine adds wonderful flavors to your dishes. In fact, when a recipe calls for water, consider replacing the water with wine. You get the liquid the recipe required, plus added flavors. Wine does a great job of intensifying, accenting and enhancing the flavors and aromas of food. Wine is also excellent for marinades.
Question: When should the wine be added?
Answer: Wine should simmer with the food or sauce as it’s being cooked. If you add the wine too late in the preparation, you run the risk of adding a harsh quality to your dish.
Question: How much wine should I use?
Answer: The more you cook with wine, the better you’ll be able to determine the right amount. Too little is inconsequential, and too much can be overpowering. Typically, you want to let the wine cook with the dish for 10 minutes before adding more, because the wine needs time to impart its flavor.
Even More Advanced Tips for Cooking with Wine
I found some great tips for cooking with wine in an article by Food & Wine’s Marcia Kiesel.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for cooking with wine. I would love to learn any special tips you’d like to share.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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