This week’s Wine on Wednesday focuses on cooking with wine, rather than drinking it (although you can certainly drink it while you cook with it!). Wine can add depth and flavor to sauces and gravies, marinades and many other dishes.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a wine to cook with:
The first and most important thing to consider when cooking with wine: don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink! Often, people choose less expensive wine to cook with because they don’t think it matters when it’s being added to a food dish. Not true! The flavors of the wine will be apparent in the food you cook it with, even if the alcohol content is cooked out. If you don’t like the flavor of the wine enough to drink it, you won’t like the flavor of the wine in the dish. Not to mention, most recipes only call for a small amount of wine, so if you don’t like the taste of the wine enough to drink it, what are you going to do with all the wine that’s left over?!
That isn’t to say that less expensive wines don’t taste good; I’ve had plenty of wines under ten dollars that taste wonderful. Just be sure to pick a wine you like when choosing a wine to cook with
Now we know to pick a good quality wine that we would like to drink, what kind of wine should we choose to cook with? Typically, white wine cooks well with light foods, and red wine cooks better with darker, richer foods. For example, red wine can be a great addition to a hearty red pasta sauce, or as a base for a steak marinade, while white wine will add flavor to a creamy white or alfredo sauce, or as a base to a chicken, fish or pork marinade.
When cooking with red wine, you’ll want to look for drier wines that have a bold flavor but not overly tannic; wine with heavy tannins can add bitterness to the flavor of your dish. Good choices for red wines would be Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. If you’re cooking with white wine, look for dry wines with acidity. Chardonnay is always a good choice for cooking with white wine.
Looking to try out a recipe using wine? Here are a few great recipes!
Pork Tenderloin with White Wine, Garlic and Rosemary: This recipe is brought to you by yours truly and features a white wine based marinade.
Braised Short Ribs with Ancho Chile Spiced Syrah Reduction: Created by Tasty-Trials, this is one of my all time favorite recipes using wine!