How To Use Cooking Wine

I have long been an enthusiast of incorporating wine into cooking. Not only does it enhance the taste of dishes, but it also brings a level of depth and complexity that can be challenging to …

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I have long been an enthusiast of incorporating wine into cooking. Not only does it enhance the taste of dishes, but it also brings a level of depth and complexity that can be challenging to attain with other ingredients. In this article, I will divulge my personal insights and strategies for making the most out of cooking with wine in your own kitchen.

Choosing the Right Cooking Wine

When it comes to cooking with wine, it is important to choose the right type of wine for your dish. Generally, you want to use dry or semi-dry wines for cooking, as opposed to sweet wines. Dry white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay work well for dishes like seafood or chicken, while dry red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot are great for beef or lamb dishes.

However, don’t feel restricted to only using traditional cooking wines. I often use leftover wine from a bottle I’ve enjoyed with dinner. This adds a personal touch and allows me to experiment with different flavors.

Using Cooking Wine in Sauces and Marinades

One of my favorite ways to use cooking wine is in sauces and marinades. The alcohol in the wine helps to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients and adds complexity to the final dish.

For a basic wine sauce, start by sautéing some minced garlic and onions in a pan with olive oil. Once they are fragrant and softened, add a splash of cooking wine and let it simmer for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol. Then, you can add other ingredients like stock, herbs, and butter to create a flavorful sauce. This sauce can be drizzled over grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or pasta dishes.

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When it comes to marinades, I like to combine cooking wine with olive oil, citrus juice, and herbs. This helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with delicious flavors. Simply marinate your meat of choice for a few hours or overnight before cooking, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Adding Wine to Stews and Braises

Another great way to use cooking wine is in stews and braises. The wine helps to break down tough cuts of meat and adds richness to the dish.

When making a stew, I like to start by browning the meat in a Dutch oven with some olive oil. Once the meat is browned and set aside, I sauté onions, carrots, and celery until they are softened. Then, I deglaze the pan with cooking wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. This adds incredible flavor to the stew. I then add in my meat, stock, and other ingredients like potatoes and herbs. Let it simmer for hours on low heat, and you’ll end up with a hearty and flavorful meal.

Final Thoughts

Cooking with wine is a wonderful way to elevate your dishes and impress your guests. Whether you’re making a simple sauce or a complex stew, adding a splash of cooking wine can take your cooking to the next level. Remember to choose the right type of wine for your dish, experiment with different flavors, and most importantly, enjoy the process of cooking with wine. Cheers!

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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