Cooking With Wine can make a dish stand out with distinct flavors and just may enhance your dining experience. One important tip when cooking with wine is to use a wine that compliments the foods in your dish.
So how do we go about cooking with wine, and what do we use? Since we are “cooking with wine” we are not using commercial “cooking” wine found on market shelves.
When I started cooking umpteen years ago I had no idea that “cooking” wine sold in supermarkets was not what I should have been using. These commercial cooking wines are made with low grade base wines, salt and food coloring. There is really no flavor-enhancing qualities in these “cooking” wines.
Julia Child and Jacques Pepin cook with wine and did so even way back when their cooking shows first aired on T.V. I witnessed it with my own eyes back then (I was hooked on PBS and that’s when I started watching their cooking shows).
They cooked with a wine that they would also serve with the meal. Of course you wouldn’t use an expensive, aged wine you might be saving for a special occasion. An everyday table wine that you would have in your wine rack can be the wine to use.
- If you need a dry white wine you should NOT choose a wine that has been aged in oak as are many Chardonnays. When exposed to the heat the oaky flavors in the wine become unpleasant. Sauvignon Blanc, Soave Bolla, or even a Pinot Grigio would be a good choice.
- If you are making a spicy dish with bold, strong flavors you can use a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. These white wines are recommended drinking with dishes that are spicy so why not use them when cooking this style. The exotic floral aromas and fruity flavors are perfect match for spicy foods.
- A bold, hearty and rich dish calls for a dry red wine. If you are braising a roast (beef or lamb) you might choose a Zinfandel or Cabernet. Choosing a lighter style wine for chicken cacciatore such as a Chianti can be a good choice.
- Fortified wines, Sherry, Port, Madeira and Marsala are also used in cooking. They have strong flavors, a bit of sweetness, and have a bit of a longer shelf life so you can keep them available for your cooking needs.
- They are versatile and can be used in rich, hearty savory dishes or in desserts.
For hearty casseroles Port can add a richness and depth.
- Use Sherry in soups or stews. Also use in fruit desserts and your guests will be impressed.
- Madeira and Marsala have caramel notes and a richness that can easily turn any simple dish into a star.
Be creative and cook with wine, not “cooking” wine.
In the words of Julia and Jacques “Bon Appetite!” and “Happy Cooking!”