5 Tips For Cooking With Wine

Wine is a great beverage. Wines’ flavor profiles are diverse and complex, with qualities like sweetness, acidity, alcohol content, and presence or absence of tannins being just a few important factors. While wine is great to drink, it is also an invaluable cooking tool. As you continue your online culinary arts program, take some time to make dishes with this popular beverage.

1. Use what you drink
Only cook with wines you enjoy drinking on their own. If you don’t like the taste while sipping, you won’t like it in the dish. Don’t use cooking wine either. These cheap bottles have a high salt content, which will alter the flavor of your food. As a caveat, don’t spend a lot of money on your wine if you just plan on using it for a reduction. Yes, you should enjoy drinking your cooking ingredient, but pouring $50 into the pan would be a waste. Choose the $10 bottle to cook with and save the expensive one for drinking.

2. Substitute wine for water
Use wine instead of water when cooking certain dishes. Wine has the moisture necessary to deglaze, your pan but it also has extra flavor. In fact, most recipes that call for some water can take wine instead. Be careful of the amount you use, though, as some wine is potent in flavor. Seek to balance the drink with the flavors you are creating in the pan.

3. Marinade with wine
Every good marinade is made with the right components. You need fat and acid along with aromatics and spices. Citrus is often used for the acid component, but wine is another great option. Wine tenderizes meat at room temperature. You can soak your veggies as well.

4. Give it time
Wine can add a harsh flavor. However, If you let it simmer for a while, that edge will soften. Add wine to a dish when there’s still some cook time left. This will help the flavor of the alcohol marry the rest of the ingredients. When the food is done, no one flavor will overpower the other.

5. Red or white?
Choose red or white wine based on what you will drink with dinner. If you are planning to serve chardonnay with your chicken, cook with it as well. As a rule of thumb, use red wines for meatier or more flavorful food. The wine is strong enough to hold up to the intense tastes in the dish. Use white wine for lighter dishes. If you put white wine in beef stew, for example, the flavor will be completely lost.

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