Every wine enthusiast wants to try out cooking with wine to see what their favourite beverage can do to food, and vice versa. Wine can enhance hidden flavours in a dish that would have been hard to discern otherwise. Improper use risks overpowering or unbalancing dish flavors, making it too sweet or overly acidic.
If you want to try cooking with wine, keep in mind that the process will impact the flavours of your wine as well. At best, it can unlock hidden aromas and flavours in your wine. At worst, it will bring out all the shortcomings in the wine and magnify them. To avoid the latter, you need to keep these seven tips in mind, so that your cooking experience doesn’t end up putting you off wine, or your favourite dish.
Seven Tips For Cooking With Wine
Don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink: This is the golden rule of cooking with wine. As mentioned above, cooking can bring out the worst in bad wine. Choose a wine that you like to drink, so that it can add the flavours that you like to your food as well.
Moderate acidity in your food: To maintain acidity levels in a recipe, reduce other acidic ingredients when adding wine. For example, reduce the amount of vinegar that you’d normally add to your beurre blanc sauce, or cut it out entirely if you are adding an acidic wine like Sauvignon Blanc to the dish.
Also Read: Is Wine Vegetarian?
Alternative for fats and oils: Wine can also work as a substitute for oils and fats in many recipes. You can use it to sauté mushrooms and onions or whip up a spring vegetable stir fry. It can also add flavour to your marinade and help tenderise the meat.
Use a non-reactive pan: To simmer your wine for a long time, it is best that you use a non-reactive pan. Due to wine’s acidity, skip cast iron or carbon steel pans to prevent metallic taste.
Add wine slowly: As wine reduces in volume while cooking, flavours like sweetness and acidity concentrate and they can overpower your dish. To prevent this, add wine in small quantities and taste your dish before adding more.
Choose your wine carefully: A basic understanding of the levels of sweetness in wines will help you make better choices. A dry wine has a very low level of residual sugar in it, while a sweet wine contains more of it. So, choose your wine on the basis of how sweet you want your preparation to be. Pair a dry red wine with pork chops and get creative by using Ruby Port for chocolate sauces.
Go for a wine that pairs well with your ingredients: The guidelines for wine and food pairing work for cooking with wine as well. Pair wine with your ingredients the same way you’d pair it with a dish. For example, a dry red wine complements hearty meat or sautéed mushrooms—craft a savory sauce accordingly.
Bonus Tip: Dodge “cooking” wines in stores; they often pack salt, sugar, and preservatives. Opt for quality drinking wine. Avoid cooking wines laden with additives. Opt for high-quality drinking wine at a comparable price. So, stick to wines that you like for both cooking and drinking.
Also Read: What is High-Quality Wine?
Blend the magic of wine into your dishes with guidance from @SonalHolland_masterofwine on Instagram.
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