You don’t have to be a professional chef to experience success cooking with wine. Using up the last of a bottle in your cooking is a great way to enhance the flavors in your dish and impress your guests. Learn more about foods that are improved with wine and some of our favorite types of wine for cooking at Columbia Distributing.
What kind of wine should you cook with?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not recommended that you use so-called “cooking wine” in the kitchen. These wines tend to be overly salty and include additives that could affect the overall taste of your dish. A good rule of thumb is to always cook with wines that you enjoy — if you like the taste while you’re drinking it, you’ll like the taste in your finished product. The wine you are using to cook with should also be fairly fresh. Wine that has been left open for about three to five days should be fine, but wine that has been sitting open for much longer is generally not recommended.
How do you cook with wine?
Wine has three main purposes in cooking: as a marinade, a cooking liquid, and a finishing flavor. As a marinade, wine can tenderize meat and infuse flavor, but you should only marinate your protein for a few hours at most. More than that and the meat can become gamey and tough. Wine can also be a great cooking liquid. Instead of using butter or oil to sauté vegetables, try using wine instead for a unique flavor. You can also use wine as a cooking liquid in a variety of sauces and glazes. Wine should be added to a dish while it is simmering, so it has time to diffuse and bestow a subtle flavor.
Alcohol evaporates during the cooking process, so your dish will not contain a high level of alcohol when finished. However, boiling down wine helps to concentrate the flavor, sweetness, and acidity so you should be careful not to use too much. It is always easier to add more than to remove an excess that could end up overpowering your dish. Adding wine to your meal immediately before serving allows the alcohol to stay behind and may produce a harsh undertone.
Additionally, it is best to use only one wine at a time. More than one variety can be overwhelming, and the flavors may become muddled. Wine should enhance your final product, not overpower the flavors of the food itself.
Which wines complement different foods?
Dry white wine is wonderful when cooking creamier sauces, seafood, and poultry, such as chicken, turkey or quail. Mussels soaked in white wine make a deliciously succulent meal, as does white wine braised chicken with fresh vegetables and herbs. Adding a dash of your favorite white wine to an alfredo sauce can be the lift of flavor that makes your version stand out.
Red wine is ideal for many red meats and sauces, stews, and even rich desserts. Braising a brisket or lamb in red wine deepens the flavors of the meat, and adding a few tablespoons of red wine to a pasta sauce can add mouthwatering sumptuousness to your meal. You could even use a tasty red wine in a chocolate cake to add a deeper flavor.
How can I learn more about cooking with wine?
Cooking with wine can be an amazing experience, and because you don’t need much to instill its flavor in your dish, it’s a great way to use up any leftover wine to avoid waste. At Columbia Distributing, we have something for everyone, from the home chef and wine fanatic to the bustling restaurant or bar. Get in touch with us today to find out more about any of our wines or to place an order.