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Cooking with Wine

If you’re anything like me, you always have a couple bottles of wine (both red and white) stashed in your pantry or wine rack. Thankfully, wine can be enjoyed in various forms: as a beverage complementing a meal as well as a flavorful ingredient that goes into the preparation of that meal. Wine can be added to just about any dish as a fat substitute or flavor boost. Before you go adding just any wine to your meal, there are a couple of secrets to choosing the right flavor and amount based on what you’re cooking.

Uses of Wine:

  • Fat Substitute: If you’re looking to lighten up a meal whilst adding a ton of flavor, wine is your ideal solution. You don’t need to add heaps of oil or butter to your food. Rather, substitute with wine. Sautee vegetables in a little bit of oil and wine or decrease the amount of fat in your marinades and add the corresponding amount of wine instead.
  • Baking: Did you know you can use wine while you’re baking as well? This versatile ingredient can be used for certain types of cakes in place of oil for a lighter, distinctly flavorful dessert.
  • Added Flavor: The most obvious reason people like to cook with wine is for the flavor component. Add wine to fish, meat, or poultry to moisten the protein as well as highlight delicious flavor categories.

How to Choose the Right Wine:

When a recipe calls for “dry white wine” what exactly does that mean? Similarly, if you’re not following a recipe, how do you know whether to use red or white? Choosing the right wine to use in your recipe is crucial for creating the most mouth-watering dish. Here are various things to consider:

  • Acidity of your dish: Wine is acidic by nature, so make sure you maintain a balance in your dish. If the recipe has other acidic components such as lemon or vinegar, use less to make room for the wine. On the flip side, if you have sugary components in your recipe, take this into account when choosing the type of wine you use.
  • Red vs. White: Choose the color based on what dish you’ve selected to cook. A general rule of thumb is as follows:
  • oBold or spicy dishes: Opt for a Riesling which has fruity flavors that counterbalance the spice.
  • oFor savory dishes in general, choose a dry wine like Chardonnay for the white option or Pinot Noir for the red option.
  • oRed meat: Pick a hearty wine such as Zinfandel.
  • oFish: Pick a light, dry white wine such as SauvignonBlanc.

Remember, cook with wine you like to drink! There’s no need to use your most expensive bottle in your meal… save that for sipping, but avoid cooking wines completely. Because they don’t contain alcohol, they contain other additives that can affect the taste and quality of your meal. Finally, have fun! Experiment with different types of wines and see which work best for different types of meals. 

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