Cooking with wine can add depth and complexity to many dishes, but it's important to use it correctly to achieve the best results. Here are some tips for cooking with wine:
- Choose a good quality wine: The quality of the wine you use in your cooking will affect the final taste of your dish. Heat will bring out the worst characteristics of poor-quality wine. Avoid using anything marketed as a “cooking wine”. In other words, in terms of quality, do not cook with a wine you would not drink.
- Match the wine to the dish: The flavor of the wine should complement the other ingredients in the dish. Use red wine for red meats and bold-flavored dishes, and white wine for lighter dishes like fish and chicken.
- Use wine as a flavor enhancer: Wine can enhance the flavor of the other ingredients in a dish. Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan, add richness to a sauce, or to brighten up the flavors of a dish.
- Brown/ sauté foods before adding wine to a dish such as a sauce or stew. This allows the surface of the foods to caramelize.
- Reduce the wine: When using wine in a sauce, reduce it first to concentrate its flavors and thicken the sauce. Simmer the wine on low heat until it reduces by half or more.
- Don't use too much wine: Using too much wine can overpower the other flavors in the dish. Start with a small amount and taste as you go, adding more if needed.
- Add wine early in the cooking process: Adding wine early in the cooking process allows it to fully integrate with the other flavors in the dish. If you add it too late, the alcohol won't have time to cook off and can leave a harsh taste.
- Acids in wine may react with aluminum or (non-enameled) cast-iron cookware.
- Store wine properly: Store open bottles of wine properly in the refrigerator to prevent it from oxidizing and losing its flavor. Use it within a week or two for the best results.
By following these tips, you can enhance the flavor of your dishes and create delicious meals with wine.