Give your meals an extra dose of flavor by learning how to cook with wine! There are many easy techniques for using wine in your favorite recipes. Fins some basic tips along with 60+ delicious recipes using wine!
Cooking with wine doesn’t need to be complex or intimidating. In fact, cooking with wine is a simple, easy way to add a dash of flavor to foods.
There are a few basic rules that you should follow, but other than that, feel free to get creative!
Basic Rules for Cooking with Wine
- Always use a good-quality wine that is fairly fresh – if you wouldn’t drink it on its own, you shouldn’t add it to your food.
- Think of wine as a spice, and use it accordingly: intense red wines will require longer cooking times than light, delicate white wines.
- Don’t cook with expensive or rare wines. Though you want your wine to be good quality, it’s a waste of money to dump a fine bottle into a pot of stew.
- Some alcohol will be left in the final dish. People who cannot have any alcohol at all should avoid cooking with wine.
Most Common Ways of Cooking with Wine
There are four common ways of using wine in cooking.
- Using wine as a stock in soups or stews or for braising
- Making a marinade with wine
- Deglazing and making a quick wine sauce
- Using wine in desserts
I’ll discuss each method in more detail below, and the recipes below include all four ways of using wine.
Wine in Stocks for Soups, Stews and Braising
Wine is frequently used as the base of stocks along with water or as a replacement for it. Follow the general rule: use red wine for red meat stock and white wine for poultry and fish stocks.
Sweeter, fortified wines are also used in stocks. For example sherry and Madeira work particularly well with chicken and turkey stock.
However be sure to use about half has much fortified wine as you would regular wine. These wines are thicker and more concentrated in flavor and alcohol.
Stocks are used for many dishes, mainly soups and stews, but also casseroles, risottos, lentil and bean dishes, and pasta dishes. They are also excellent for braising meats that have a long cooking time.
Using Wine in Marinades
Marinating with red wine is best done with red meats; similarly, you’ll want to stick to white wines with white meats like chicken and fish.
Vegetarians and vegans can marinate tofu, Portobello mushrooms and root vegetables in red or white wine. Generally these need a shorter marinade time than meat.
To use wine as a marinade, pour the wine over the meat, add spices, herbs and any other seasoning, and let it steep for several hours or overnight. The thicker the cut of meat, the longer it should marinade.
Even a short marinading time can make a huge difference in flavor of the final dish! Keep in mind, though, that red wine will turn food bluish-purple, so use it sparingly on light colored foods.
It’s best to stick to dry, full-bodied wines for marinades, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Malbec for red wines, or Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, or dry Riesling for white wines.
Making Sauces and Deglazing with Wine
Deglazing is simply the addition of a liquid to a pan in which something has been roasted or sautéed.
This liquid absorbs the remaining solid particles and flavors in the pan, and is usually brought to a boil and reduced to make a sauce that is added at the final stage of cooking.
You can pour straight wine into the pan, anywhere from 1/2 a cup to two cups’ worth, depending on the sauce.
Red wine should be reduced by about half, white wine by about a quarter. The longer a sauce is cooked, the bolder the wine used should be.
Fruity wines work very well for deglazing and sauces; try something like Chilean Merlot or Californian Pinot Noir. Good white wines to use include New Zealand Sauvignon blanc or Alsatian Pinot Gris. Avoid very tannic or oaky wines.
Using Wine in Desserts
Adding a wine to a dessert is one of my favorite ways to be creative with wine! Sweet dessert wines like port, sherry, Sauternes, ice wine, and vin santo increase the complexity of a dessert’s flavor.
The good thing about using these wines in cooking is that you don’t need to add very much to get a rich taste – just add a small dash to icing, cake batter, brownies or cupcakes.