The trick behind cooking with wine is to enhance and accent the flavor and aroma of the food you are cooking without masking other ingredients which may be delicate. Like using any seasoning, pay close attention to the amount. Too little won’t make a big impact and too much will overpower the other flavors.
Don’t even think about using so-called “cooking wines” They contain salt and other additives that negatively impact the taste of your chosen dish. The reduction process that occurs as you’re cooking will also bring out the worst in these inferior wines. Only cook with wines that you would normally drink. If you do not like a wine’s taste in a glass, you will not like it in your food.
“That’s great”, you say, “But how do I know which of my favorite wines to cook with particular foods?” Here are some pairing ideas to get you started:
|Earthy red, full bodied red wine||Red meat, red meat dishes|
|Young, full bodied, robust red wine||Red sauces|
|Dry white wine or dry fortified wine||Fish/shellfish/seafood, poultry, pork, veal|
|Dry white wine or dry fortified wine||Light/cream sauces|
|Crisp, dry white wine||Seafood soups, bouillabaisse|
|Sweet white wine or sweet fortified wine||Sweet desserts|
|Dry, fortified wine (i.e.: sherry)||Consommé, poultry, vegetable soups|
How to Cook With Wine
Wine can be used for cooking in 3 ways:
- As a marinade ingredient
- As a cooking liquid
- As a flavoring in a finished dish
The main concept behind cooking with wine is that it should simmer with the food as its cooking. The wine needs time to infuse its flavor into your food. During the cooking process, the wine’s alcohol evaporates and only the flavor remains. Boiling down wine concentrates it into an extract including acidity and sweetness greatly enhancing the flavor.
Rule of Thumb: 3/4 cup raw wine = 2 tablespoons of wine reduction.