Why cook with wine?

The first to exploit its taste in the kitchen were the Etruscans and the Ancient Romans, who used to immerse large pieces of meat to preserve them for a long time, today wine is used in dishes to enjoy its properties and aromas.

This is why it is not recommended to use an undrinkable wine for cooking: its aromas and defects will in fact be found in the dish served at the table.

On the other hand, it is also not correct to use a wine of excellent quality, since many of its properties will be lost during cooking.

Why use wine for cooking? This operation, which is called “blend with wine”, allows risottos, sautés, slow-cooked meat, and many other preparations to take advantage of the many properties of a good wine, which burns fat, and contains sugars, and perfumes in the dish.

Which wine to use? The wine we use for cooking must be good, just like any other ingredient in your recipe: this is the first and only fundamental requirement to ensure the success of a recipe with this type of preparation.

 It is best to use a freshly uncorked bottle of wine to deglaze, avoiding buying cheap wines and bottles left open for days. Rather avoid using wine.

 It is also advisable to use the same wine in the preparation that you will combine with your menu for lunch or dinner that you are preparing: for example, blend your second course of fish with a good white, the same that you will then serve at the table.

You don’t have to be a sommelier to judge a cooking wine as good enough. The cork taste and smell, acidity, or, even worse, the hint of vinegar are defects easily found if, before using it to blend or sprinkle our dish, we taste half a glass, smell it and keep it a little in the mouth to evaluate its taste and aftertaste.

White or red wine? There is no fixed rule. The wine for braised meat, meat stews, or game, is red, which has the property of decreasing the flavor of the meat. For cooking fish, white is preferable. Although cod, tuna, octopus, and some dishes also accept red wine. Your delicacy will choose it.

For white meats, such as chicken, duck, turkey, or rabbit, white wine is preferable to a full-bodied red. Although at the limit you can opt for a red wine containing a minimum amount of tannin.

How to use wine in cooking

Marinade. In wine, you can marinate products (mainly meat, white or red, but also fish with an intense flavor such as cod and cheese) to give them a particular aromatic connotation before cooking. Oil, herbs, spring onions, spices, ginger, soy sauce, and sugar can be added to the marinade in the wine. However, keep in mind that, like lemon or vinegar, wine can ‘cook’ food during marinating. An example is the marinating of wild boar meat.

Deglazing: Deglazing is the term that indicates the operation with which the juices of a browned preparation are dissolved that during cooking have congealed on the bottom and walls of the pan or pot. This action allows you to get a particularly tasty sauce. The juices in food (for example a piece of meat) during cooking, in fact, tend to caramelize and stick to the pan. By deglazing a cooking stock, it is deprived of excess fat. Do not pour the wine directly on the dish or in the center, but at the edges of the pot or pan, first reason not to lower the temperature of the dish itself and then because it is precisely there that the fattest part of the sauté is collected and the wine can fulfill its task (ie deglaze and burn fat) more effectively. The encrustations are detached with the help of wine and turn into a dark sauce: this is then reduced to high heat until it acquires a certain consistency. This practice helps to deglaze the dish thanks to the alcoholic part of the wine.

The fats present in the condiments such as butter, lard, and meat fats, are partly dissolved by the wine which creates a creaminess capable of giving softness to the dish. In addition, the acidity of the wine balances the full full-bodied flavor of fats.

Sautéed wine should be used at the beginning of cooking, to enhance the flavor and leave a pleasant aftertaste in the finished dish. Typical is the use of wine in cooking fish or when using mushroom.For example Mushroom sauce for pasta or meat .(here is the recipes)

Stew. It is used during cooking in the case of stews or braised meats because it helps to “defat” the taste of the meat.

 When cooking meat with very strong flavors, such as a game, wine can be used as a cooking liquid. It will serve to reduce the ‘wild’ flavor and flavor of the dish. In addition, the acidity of the wine helps to make the particularly firm meat softer. See for example the Peposo Toscano. (recipe here)

Making sauces. With the cooking stock of the meat, with a tomato base, with butter or cream: a drop of wine smells and flavors many types of sauces and sauces. Red wine sauces go excellently with fillets and red meats in general. With a white wine sauce, you can serve fish or shellfish. Both white and red are also useful in making a sweet and sour sauce in which to cook spring onions or other types of vegetables.

Give the flavor. Wine is used simply to perfume the dish. As in risottos, in some desserts. There are ‘wine’ dishes that therefore take the aroma and color 100% while losing the alcohol content. Famous risottos with wine, especially red and full-bodied .For example risotto with berries and red wine (here is the recipe)

There are two aspects to pay attention to when deciding to cook with wine:

  1. Acidity. It is important to balance it wisely. In the case of using red wine in stews, for example, the meat itself will probably help reduce the sour taste, but in general starches and fats can be used to counteract acidity. In any case, consider that as the wine is reduced and the alcoholic component evaporates, the acid part will also decrease. The acidity of the wine will instead be very useful if you want to give a sour, astringent flavor to the dish. This is the reason why in Italian cuisine it is not common to add wine to a tomato sauce, where the tomato already has a strong acidity.

2. Evaporation of alcohol: a scientific fact that can be useful in the kitchen: the alcohol present in the wine evaporates at a temperature of about 77 degrees and this means, considering that the water boils at 100 degrees, that the alcohol poured at the beginning of cooking evaporates almost totally.

Hoping that this long dissertation has been useful, use wine in cooking carefully. And when you see written ” a glass of wine”,this is the glass size.