Wine makes a wonderful companion to food. Apart from pairing a dish with a particular variety, cooking with wine can really add something special to your homemade cuisine.
Getting creative with wine in the kitchen can bring out flavours of the wine and whatever you are preparing. If you have yet to try it out, here are some useful tips to help you impress your guests and make the most out of a meal.
1. Julia Child once said, “If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it. For a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one.” This quote led chefs everywhere to the simpler tip: Only cook with wine that you would drink.
Now, we at WineCollective are not suggesting that you use you $45 bottle in tonight’s dinner. We are however, suggesting that you do not use wine that you wanted to pour down the drain. While there has been much debate about this tip (with some critics saying to use anything labeled wine) the end result may not be ruined, but most certainly will have a different taste.
2. With that being said, our next tip would be to pour yourself a glass. Relax and enjoy cooking. Sip either the wine you plan on mixing in your dish – which will intensely bring out flavour later on – or another one of your favourites.
3. Use wine like seasoning, do not over do it. You will not get drunk if you pour in the entire bother trying. The majority of alcohol evaporates leaving 5% – 75% of the original content, depending on the cooking method. 1-½- 2 cups is a generous amount if you’re not following a recipe.
4. Do not use “cooking wine.” These products available in grocery stores are loaded with salt and food colouring to preserve the liquid. You will have a much healthier and tasty result if you use actual wine.
5. Heat wine before adding it to food. Reducing the wine will allow all of the flavours to come out and lower the alcohol content (children like good food too). Do not bring the wine to a boil but allow it to warm up, this will also help to moisten the chosen food you’re adding it to.
6. Marinade foods with wine. This works for both meat and vegetables. Adding wine to your marinade will allow the flavour to soak into your meat if prepared in advance.
* Try adding a small amount of red or white wine to mixed vegetables. Wrap in aluminum foil and let all the goodness come together on the barbeque.
7. Baste or sauté with wine by mixing it with butter. This works beautifully with a chicken or turkey in the oven. Try a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc.
8. Substitute water for wine. While Jesus may have thought of this first, a great Italian dish known as “Drunken Pasta,” uses a red wine (Zinfandel works superbly) to cook spaghetti. This leaves the pasta tainted and full of flavour. The colour can be quite beautiful but if it weirds you out white wine works just fine, and boy does it taste delicious!
9. Add a tablespoon or two of wine to gravy and leave your guests wondering why your gravy triumphs over theirs.
10. For the baker! You can use sweet wines in desserts! Red wine chocolate cake, cupcakes and brownies all use a small amount of wine to amaze your taste buds.
Unsure which wine to use? This of course depends on the dish you’re making, the recipe and which aromas you want to bring out.
– Dry white wine: Sauvignon Blanc will offer a fresh herbal tint
– Bold or spicy: Gewurztraminer and Riesling with balance out the dish with fruity flavours
– Dry red wine: Petite Syrah, Zinfandel or Merlot will compliment a leg of lamb or roast beef
If you already love to cook with wine then you understand me when I say it can add a touch of fabulous to any dish. If you’re a little skeptical, we hope you try a few of WineCollective’s tips and keep them in mind. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.