Everybody cooks with wine but are you making the most of your wines when cooking and are you using the right wines? Wine is usually something we simply plonk into a sauce, use to add a little more flavour when browning meat or simply deglazing a pan. However it can be used in many other ways too and why not get the most out of your wine collection?
What does cooking with wine add to your food?
Wine can add a number of different things to any meal. Principally you’ll add wine to a meal for flavour purposes. The character of wine is often amplified and brought out even further when used in cooking so the key flavour becomes more pronounced. Wine also adds acidity to any meal you include it in, which will change the whole makeup of the dish. How a wine effects a dish will depend on exactly how it is used.
People often question whether the alcohol in wine is all ‘cooked off’ when it’s used in cooking. Alcohol actually evaporates at 81 degrees Celsius and it is very unlikely you will cook off all the alcohol as you prepare a meal, although it could be possible. If you don’t like the idea of cooking with wine then consider using a stock in any recipe that suggests adding wine.
Which Wines should you cook with?
The first place to begin is to avoid anything labelled as “cooking wine” and think about the flavours you like and the wines you like to drink and how they may compliment your food choices.
If you’re cooking with white wine then chardonnay is highly recommended alongside creamy sauces and cheese-based dishes or pasta dishes such as macaroni, pasta alfredo and lasagne. Sauvignon Blanc or pinot grigio can be great for a wide range of different styles of sauce and when cooking with fish as their herbaceous character brings a different character to your meal. If you are enjoying a rich delicacy such as Iberico Jamon, this is a great choice of wine to enhance the flavours and cleanse the pallet.
When cooking with red wine then burgundy reds are always recommended when cooking with beef. The rich and robust nature of the wine works perfectly with the similar characteristics of the meat.