Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Cooking With Wine

It's thought to be W.C. Fields who said, "I love cooking with wine.  Sometimes I even put it in the food."  It's not too clear how much cooking Mr. Fields ever did, but they say he really knew his way around a bottle of wine.

Cooking with wine is a great way to add flavor to a meal. You don't have to worry too much about the alcohol - cooking burns off a good bit of it - the longer you cook, the more it burns away - and leaves just the lovely aromas and flavors found in the wine.  The wine's flavor tends to become mellower the longer you cook it, too.

Don't cook with cheap wine, or cooking wines.  Use only a wine you would drink in your cooking.  You don't have to break open an expensive bottle you are saving for a special occasion, but remember that quality counts.  It is going into your meal, after all.

Wine is like any other spice when used in cooking.  Using the proper amount is just as important as with any other seasoning.  Use enough to make a difference, but don't overpower the food by using too much.  Cooking the wine makes the flavor concentrated, so pour with a steady hand.

You need to allow some time for the wine to do its work.  Don't taste right away after adding the wine. Wait at least a few minutes.

Red or white?  As the rule of thumb goes for serving wine with dinner, red is best with meat dishes, white with cream sauces, seafood or white meats.  But as you would when selecting a wine to drink, let your own palate be your guide.  And don't forget ros├ęs.  They can be used with great success in pork and chicken dishes.

If you're cooking with less fat these days, wine is a nice addition because it will help bring more moisture to the food that is missing in the absence of the fat.

Leftover wine can be recorked, refrigerated and kept for future use, but not for more than a few weeks.  Of course, the best thing about cooking with wine is that you can always drink the remainder with dinner.

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