Regardless of your tastes, there are a few basic ingredients you’ll find in many recipes. While you might use some of the same ingredients each time, they can help create vastly different dishes. One ingredient you’ll see included in many recipes is wine. Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, you might have some questions about cooking with wine. Most people know that alcohol typically burns off during cooking, so what exactly does it add? If you’re a foodie or home chef who wants to learn the basics of cooking wine, we can help.
What are Cooking Wines?
Defining exactly what cooking wine is can sometimes be a little confusing. Technically, there are wines that are exclusively meant for cooking, not drinking, that are referred to as cooking wine. Cooking wine often has a high alcohol by volume, which makes it better for certain meals that cook for long periods of time, as the alcohol has more time to burn off. Cooking wine can be white or red and also tends to be very salty and contains preservatives, making it last longer, but giving it a taste you wouldn’t want in a drink.
However, while cooking wine can refer to specific types of wine, you can use many regular wines to cook with. Wines that are best for cooking are typically dryer wines, like pinot grigio, chardonnay, Burgundy, and pinot noir. If you’re cooking with wine at home, you don’t have to feel like you need to splurge on the most expensive kind. Not only will the alcohol burn off, but you’ll lose some of the more subtle flavors as well, so an inexpensive wine works well.
Why Use Wine in Your Cooking?
Wine Adds Acidity
Wine is commonly used as a marinade for meats. While you might think this is to help the meat absorb the flavors of the wine, it’s actually due to the acidity. The acidity in wine helps tenderize the meat so that you get the perfect texture and keep it moist. Other popular ways of adding some acidity to a marinade are by using citrus juice or vinegar. Of course, whatever acid you choose will also help flavor the meat, so it’s important to consider what each one will add to the dish.
To Get the Flavor of the Wine
Of course, wine is often added to help a dish absorb its flavor. Even if you don’t normally like drinking wine, you might enjoy having the flavor of it in food. Since the alcohol burns off, it won’t have exactly the same flavor as when you drink it. When done right, food cooked with wine shouldn’t have a boozy flavor, rather, it will have nice aromatics and flavors. White wines can help brighten up the taste of a dish, while many red wines can add fruity or oaky flavors to add more depth.
Wine Adds Enhances the Other Flavors
Not only can a dish benefit from the flavors of the wine itself, but it can help bring out other flavors. Cooking with wine doesn’t mean that the taste of the wine will overpower every other ingredient, it helps bring out the best flavors in other foods. This is especially true when deglazing a pan to make a sauce even more flavorful. Good cooks know how to use wine when cooking to compliment all the other flavors in a dish and make them more pronounced.
Try Expertly Prepared Dishes at Grico’s South
Cooking with wine can sometimes be tricky. You want to add enough to bring more flavor, but not so much that it takes over. You also want to cook off the alcohol, but not so long that it burns. At Grico’s South, we have several options on our menu that contain wine, including classics like Marsala and scampi. If you want to see what wine can add to a dish, and maybe order a glass on the side as well, you can trust us to prepare an amazing dinner.
Make your reservations for dinner in Nanticoke today!