The addition of wine can offer unique flavor to many recipes, and wine offers a lot of versatility for cooking as well. If you’re new to cooking with wine, there’s certainly nothing to fear. Follow a few simple rules when choosing wine for cooking and you’ll be making delicious dishes seasoned with wine in no time. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Top Tips for Cooking With Wine
1. If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it. The underlying flavor of the wine is what lingers in your dish. So, if you don’t like a wine, you probably won’t like the flavor it imparts to your food, either.
2. When cooking with wine, the age-old rule of white wine with fish and chicken and red wine with beef works well when it comes to cooking. However, it’s not an absolute rule. Consider, for example, the iconic French chicken dish “Coq au Vin”, which is always prepared with red wine.
What’s more important than whether the wine is red or white is whether its robustness matches the food it is cooked with. Lighter wines go better with more delicate foods, while hearty foods can handle a more robust wine.
3. Avoid wines labeled “cooking wines”. They often have added salt and other ingredients that will tarnish the taste of your food. They are also often more expensive than drinking wines.
4. Wine should be added to food early enough in the cooking process that the wine has time to simmer. As wine cooks down, the alcohol evaporates away and the flavors of the wine concentrate. The wine needs time during the cooking process to impart its flavor to the food.
5. Wine should not be overused. Too much wine in a dish can overpower it, rather than enhance it. This is especially true with very heavy wines like Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon. On the other hand, if you use too little of the wine, you won’t notice its flavor in the food at all.
6. Left over wine is great to save for cooking. Wine is best stored for later use by ensuring that no air is in the bottle. Consider corking previously opened wine using a device that removes air from the bottle to extend the length of storage. Or, move the wine to a smaller bottle. Wine corked and stored in the refrigerator will keep for about a week. If all the air is removed, and it is tightly corked, it will keep for up to one month.
Cooking with wine is a great way to add dimension to your dishes and increase your cooking repertoire. In no time, you’ll find ways to use wine to make many of your favorite foods even tastier.