Have you ever seen all these recipes I post? You know, the ones that refer to cooking with wine? Well, even though I have been writing all these recipes for quite some time, I never did really give you any information on why should someone cook with wine! What does wine offer to these recipes and how about some kind of guideline to help you on that?
So, in this post, I am going to get you into more specifics on why we use wine in cooking and how to do it right! You will get to see how is that good for your dish and let you in on some basic tips that will help you be the best at it!
How about we get on to it then? Ready…? Let’s go!
Why Use Wine In your Recipes?
Well, a very good reason for cooking with wine is that it helps you add flavor and moisture to your different kinds of dishes, without actually adding extra fat to your meal. You see, when wine is used in recipes, most of the times you get to simmer it with food and wait for it to evaporate and diminish to almost zero amount! In that way, there can be only a slight amount of alcohol in your dish, which is generally not noticeable in most cases or even worthy of “dealing” with it, of course, that depends on your own preference! Generally, as a rule of thumb, keep in mind that the more time you give your wine to “cook”, the lesser the amount of alcohol will be in your meal!
Now, let’s take a look at the tips in a list and get a bit deeper into them…
7 Great Tips On How To Cook With Wine – A List
- Do Not Use Wines With The Title “Cooking Wines”
- No Need To Use A Wine of More Than $10
- Use A Wine That You Would Normally Drink
- Choose Light Wines For Delicate Flavours & Full Bodied Wines For Heavier Tastes
- Consider The Flavor You Want For Your Dish & Choose The Right Type Of Wine
- Reduce Wine While Cooking And Do Not Add It Before Serving
- Get Creative
Let’s elaborate on them, shall we?
Tip No #1:Do Not Use Wines With The Title “Cooking Wines”
I know, it is quite tempting for you to buy a wine where the words “cooking wine” are written on its label. They are quite low in alcohol or have none of it and come on! They are meant to be used for cooking, “they are made especially for this reason”, you are probably thinking. That’s what anyone would think, it’s only natural! That’s what I thought at least, when I first thought of cooking with wine.
However, has it ever occurred to you what it takes for a wine with no alcohol to be called a wine? Bear with me, I have a good point! You see, alcohol is one of the 5 basic characteristics of wine as we have previously seen, right? Along with acidity, body, sweetness and tannins, it is considered to be a factor that helps us determine and “understand” a wine, even describe and review its quality if you wish! What is more, alcohol comes from the natural process of fermentation, the process through which grape juice turns into wine. That means that alcohol is meant to be in wine, it is a contributing factor to its creation and overall taste!
So, if one of the basic characteristics of wine is missing, is that supposed to be a wine indeed? I think not! Apart from that, think of the ways and additives used for these “cooking wines” to be called wines at all, since one of its core ingredients is missing anyway! At least that’s MY logical assumption and belief!
So, my first tip and recommendation to you? Need a wine for cooking? Forget the wines labeled as “cooking wines”! There is a wide variety of wines meant to be drunk, a wine’s major purpose, that you could use in your recipes as well.
Tip No #2: No Need To Use A Wine of More Than $10
Generally, as I already mentioned, you will find a wide range of wines to buy! There are so many types of wine for someone to choose from, not only in terms of taste but in terms of price as well. However, the price-quality ratio is a matter of personal taste. Now, don’t get me wrong! Of course, there are very expensive wines of high quality and rareness that deserve EACH AND EVERY little penny you are willing to pay for them, nonetheless, that does not mean that you cannot find wines of relatively low price that are interesting, tasteful and worth of your attention and choice.
Especially if it is for you to choose one for your cooking. It is, after all, a waste of a good wine to be used as an ingredient in a recipe rather than as a wine pairing for your meal, where you will get to enjoy every aspect of it, aroma and flavor and texture wise.
So, instead of spending tons of money on expensive wines, only for you to add them to your food, why not use $10 or even less than that, and get a wine that will serve its purpose on your cooking plans and is quite delightful for your mouthfeel as well? Trust me, there are a lot of wines in this price range that will prove to be your best cooking companions! All you have to do is try some and choose one of your own personal wine profile!
Tip No #3: Use A Wine That You Would Normally Drink
One of the most basic rules when it comes to cooking with wine is that you should never use one that you would not normally drink! You see as I stated in Tip No #2, you do not have to waste more than $10 to get a wine for a recipe. However, if you don’t like the taste of the wine for you to drink anyway and you are just trying to get your job done, that probably means that you are not going to like it in your food as well.
A wine is meant to add some of its flavors and characteristics to your recipe and that is the reason you are using it in the first place. If you take a sip of it and you do not enjoy its flavors and characteristics in the least bit, well, I’ve got bad news for you!! The outcome is going to be a disaster and you are going to hate it!
So, keep things simple and buy the wine that you would normally drink on its own or as a pairing to your lunch or dinner! In fact, if you have some leftover wine in your fridge but you have no desire to drink it, you can use it in your recipe! You get to enjoy your wine but in a whole lot different way, one that does not involve drinking it!
So, your third tip? Your wine has to be drinkable by you in order to use it in your cooking!
Tip No #4: Choose Light Wines For Delicate Flavours & Full Bodied Wines For Heavier Tastes
Remember how I talked to you about 11 rules that will make you top wine and food combinations? Specifically, I am referring to rule No #8 according to which, the weight of the wine should match the weight of the food! Well, this tip moves on a similar basis! Delicate flavors call for light wines whereas, heavy tastes call for full-bodied wines.
You see, if you use a full bodied wine while making a recipe that aims in creating really delicate and special light flavors, you will have the exact opposite outcome. And by “opposite outcome” I mean that the rest of the ingredients taste are going to be covered by the flavors of the full bodied wine. And since wine is used in cooking only some of its characteristics to be added to the dish, most probably you are going to end up with a heavy and flat one!
On the other hand, if you use light wine while cooking heavier tastes, the flavors and aromas of the wine will be lost under the “weight” of the meal, so there will be absolutely no hint of it added to your food in terms of mouthfeel and taste!
So, go for light wines with light and delicate flavors while using heavier wines for heavier tastes. It’s all about complementing and balancing between the two components rather than overwhelming one another! Think of it as an equation where you have to bring both of the parts to make a whole!
Tip No #5: Consider The Flavor You Want For Your Dish & Choose The Right Type Of Wine
You could say that tip no #5 resembles tip no #4 but stop right where you are! By telling you to consider of the final flavor you want for your dish and choose the correct type of wine, I am talking about choosing dry or sweet wine for your recipe.
Well, generally, since sweet wine has more residual sugar than the rest of the types of wine, it is only natural for you to use sweet wine for desserts and baked recipes (like cakes), while dry wine is used for “salty” meals.
However, if you want to add more sweet characteristics to your recipe, sweet is the type of wine you should use whether it is a dessert or any other kind of food recipe. At the end of the day, it only matters what you want your end goal taste to be!
Tip No #6: Reduce Wine While Cooking And Do Not Add It Before Serving
In case you have ever looked for cooking with wine recipes, you must have noticed that in most of them wine is added slowly while cooking or you have to wait for it to be reduced and absorbed in the food before adding another ingredient! Why is that? Well, It’s quite simple actually! If you wait for it to be absorbed, your dish will end up having the best possible elements of the wine. You are using wine to enhance the flavors of your dish after all, right? Well, that’s exactly the purpose this process serves. After you have tried on cooking with wine for a few times, you will notice yourselves that even the level of the heat you are cooking the wine on, is of quite an importance.
After you have tried on cooking with wine for a few times, you will notice yourselves that even the level of the heat you are cooking the wine on, is of quite an importance. In the same logic, adding it just before serving, does not allow for the wine to be cooked and evolve its taste. It is not possible for it to add to your food and it will definitely give a harsh character to its taste!
Tip No #6? Give some time for the wine to be absorbed while simmering it and wait for it to be imparted in your food.
Tip No #7: Get Creative
And that is how I find myself giving you the last tip on how to cook with wine! You know, as I keep saying, again and again, there is no better way in applying rules, tips and tricks than trying them and testing them but also add your personal character while you are doing that. Use these rules to guide you but get creative! Try adding to them, experiment and expand your choices! There are hundreds of cooking with wine recipes out there as well as hundreds of wines also! Try different wines to your recipes or even create your own ones by adding wine to them! Make new combinations and match the flavors that you think will work better for your dish! GET CREATIVE!!
To Sum Up…
Wine is used in cooking to help us enhance our dishes with different and special flavors coming from the wine! You only need some tricks to help you on that and get the desirable, for you, outcome! That is exactly the purpose that the above 7 tips serve! To help you be the best when it comes to cooking with wine and allow yourself to help others as well!
Feel free to try them and get the best out of them! Use these tips as your guideline on how to cook with wine and be the best that you can be!I am going to get you into more specifics on why we use wine in cooking! Click To Tweet
Do you think I might have left something important out of the above tips? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below! I will be happy to discuss it with you and even add it to this post…