How To Use Red Wine In Cooking: Top Secrets
Wine is a principal ingredient in many dishes. Yet, if things look pretty straightforward when the recipes include white wine, the question of many enthusiasts is how to use red wine in cooking.
The recipes that require red wine as a main ingredient are many and often based on meat. Nevertheless, there are also many first courses or even desserts that can benefit from the addition of a few drops of a ruby red wine.
However, there are a few secrets you should follow to ensure that the dish you’re making will taste heavenly.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the wine you are choosing must be able to highlight the flavors of the dish. To make sure that you are using the right wine, the rule to follow is to choose for cooking the same wine you would choose to pair with the dish.
A wrong wine can spoil even the best dish, and for this reason, you must choose a high-quality wine to cook and accompany your food.
Why Should You Use Red Wine In Cooking?
Red wine had been used for cooking since the ancient times. Cooking with wine is described for the first time by Homer, while the ancient Greeks and the Romans also used red wine to cook delicious dishes for feasts and banquets.
Nowadays, the wine has three main functions in cooking:
- Used as an ingredient in marinades;
- Used as a liquid for cooking and;
- Used to add flavor to a prepared dish.
Yet, if you have never used it before, cooking with wine might sound intimidating. Here are a few of the secrets of the greatest chefs.
1. Choose A High-Quality Red Wine
Let’s face it, many recipes promote the use of leftover or poorer quality wine in cooking. But would you drink that wine? If the answer is no, why in the world would you want to add it to your food?
The main secret when cooking with wine is treating wine just like any other ingredient of the recipe. If you choose the best quality veggies or meat, you should cook them in fine wine. This is a basic requirement for the success of your recipes.
As a general rule, choose to cook with the wine you will then serve at the dinner. Uncap the bottle right before cooking, use the necessary quantity, then leave your red wine to decant until serving.
Of course, when following this rule you should also establish the value of the wine before cooking with it. While using high-quality wine is a must, you would probably want to save a really aged or rare wine for better use, as it will most likely lose its properties when cooked.
2. Taste The Wine Before Cooking
You don’t have to be an expert in wines to judge if a wine is good enough to be used in the kitchen. But you will still have to taste the wine to determine if it will add value to your dish or not.
If you are a wine expert, you can use the tasting to determine the suitability of the wine with the dish you’re cooking based on aromas, flavors, and notes. For us, the ordinary mortals, it will usually be enough to determine if the wine is drinkable or not.
Just like we mentioned above, if you wouldn’t drink the wine, then it’s not suitable to cook with it.
3. When To Use Red Wine?
There is an eternal dilemma on how to choose between red and white wines when cooking. The experts suggest using the same wine you would normally serve the dish with, but there are some exceptions.
Red wine is a perfect match for the recipes containing red meat or game, such as stews or roasts, or even to marinate the meat before grilling. But red wine also pairs perfectly with duck, tuna or cod fish, and even with some desserts.
In some types of sweets, wine may replace a certain amount of fat, such as butter or oil. Red wine can also enhance the flavor of a wide range of fruits, including pears, oranges, peaches, berries, and plums.
Moreover, there are many ice cream recipes that include red wine among the ingredients.
4. When To Add The Wine To The Dish?
Another dilemma is whether the wine should be added at the beginning, during, or at the end of cooking.
The answer is simple: when cooking with red wine, or white as a matter of fact, you should add the wine at the beginning of the process. For example, when you are frying the vegetables or meat to enhance the flavor.
The only reason to add wine at the end of cooking is if you want the food to keep the aroma of the wine and not only its flavor.
Regardless of when you add the wine, remember to pour it on the edges of the pan rather than on the center. The grease and fat tend to gather on the edges and the wine can fulfill its fat burning task more effectively.
5. Mind The Alcohol
When adding wine, you also add alcohol to your food. This means that depending on the cooking temperature the food might be or not be suitable for children, pregnant women or athletes.
Scientifically speaking, alcohol evaporates at a temperature of about 170 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that in almost all dishes the alcohol will be almost gone before you serve it. However, if you’re cooking something at lower temperatures, or if you’re preparing a dish that doesn’t require cooking at all, then the alcohol will stay in the food you’re going to serve.
While it’s true that half a glass of wine never killed anyone, in some cases prudence comes first.
The function of red wine in cooking is to emphasize the flavor and scent of the food. It is not suitable for all meals, yet it will exalt the taste of the food in many cases.
And now that you know the basics of how to use red wine in cooking, be creative! Dare and try to invent new versions of your old or boring recipes!