Why should I cook with wine?
The great thing about wine is that it’s not just for drinking; adding wine to a dish will not only enhance the flavour, but also the aroma of the meal.
This is because heating the wine simply concentrates the flavour of it, which means it will accentuate all the best parts of the meal. Remember, the wine needs to blend and meld into the other ingredients, not be a noticeable and overpowering ingredient. Wine can also be used instead of large quantities of oil to reduce the calorie content of your meals, and with supermarkets like Tesco offering such a large selection of wines, you have no excuse not to pick up a bottle with the weekly shop and get started today!
Match the wine to the dish
One of the first issues that you might face when cooking with wine is how to select the right wine for the dish. But before you panic and worry that your lack of experience of cooking with wine is going to count against you, don't worry - you can totally do this!
As a general rule, fish and white meat, such as turkey or chicken, should be accompanied by a dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Meanwhile red meat, such as beef, goes best with a full-bodied red wine, such as a Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel.
When should I add wine to the pan?
While it may be tempting to add the wine to the pan straight away (and then pour a generous glass for yourself, too, obviously!) the trick is to wait.
Hold off until the ingredients have been simmering for a while, but there is still a lot of cooking time left, this way it will enhance the dish without being too obtrusive.
Let the wine cook before adding another liquid
This is probably the biggest mistake that a lot of people make, as it can be tempting to add all the liquids that the recipe requires at once. Doing this will only accentuate the taste of the wine, which will overpower the other ingredients.
Instead, take the time to let the wine cook before adding your stock or other liquid to avoid serving something that tastes like uncooked wine.
Can I bake with wine?
It’s not just pan-fried food that tastes great with added wine, but baked goods too! Wine can be added to all sorts of desserts, such as champagne cake, which can be created by following a simple sponge recipe and (slowly) adding champagne when the dry and wet ingredients are being beaten together.
Red wine and chocolate cake also go very well together, just remember to add exactly the amount of wine that the recipe calls for. The heat of the oven will burn off the alcohol and leave you with a rich, moist and simply delightful cake that will leave your guests wanting more.
Cooking with wine is so much easier than you think, so why not have a look at a few recipes online and see what you can create in your kitchen?
Image by Montaplex used under the Creative Commons license.