Cooking is a part of everyone’s lives, whether you’re good or bad at it. The best part about it is that there are countless flavors and countless ingredients that can change the outcome of a dish. The slightest change can make a dish great or horrible. You want to get the best-tasting ingredients that you can while considering all the options you’re given. Cooking is a science, plain and simple. The smallest shift can cause an explosion. While food isn’t as volatile as chemical reactions, you can still get the best meal you’ve ever had by cooking with wine.
While one may shy away from the thought of alcohol or dropping a lot of money on wine, rest assured that even a cheaper wine can create a wonderful outcome for your food. The real question is what wine to use for cooking? There are hundreds of brands out there! There are so many types of different wines… red, white, fortified, dry, sweet, semi-sweet… where do you start? It can be daunting sometimes, but your best bet is to cook with a wine that would taste great to drink with your meal.
The best wine to cook with is dry white and red wines. The sweetness of a sweet wine can alter the meal a bit more than you might anticipate and caramelize, so stick with the dry end if you’re just starting out. A crisp, dry wine can create beautiful and delicious sauces and soups to accent your foods. Try to avoid wines that actually contain the words “cooking wine”, as it will contain other additives that might not work so well with your food.
Unoaked chardonnay and pinot grigio are great white wines to use with your cooking. These dry wines are great when used in heavy creams or seafoods. Soups are also a good choice, considering they are usually combined with creams or otherwise. From acidity to richness, combining these delicious beverages in your cooking can increase the deliciousness exponentially.
Of course, that isn’t to say red wines aren’t able to be used for cooking as well. Red wines are quite a bit bolder than white wines, making them key for meats and vegetables. The savory, deep-fruity tastes of the reds will accent the lamb and steaks you may have for dinner. Veggies will taste more vibrant and heavy, giving you a filling and satisfying end to your lunch or supper.
Cabernet is a great choice for pairing or cooking with your meal, being rich and infused with fruits, vanilla, and sage. Zinfandel, another rich wine, would add the taste of plums and cherries despite being made with grapes. It is a great addition to most meaty meals, considering that this wine is aged a bit more than others. Bordeaux is another popular red wine, giving a herb-like and fruity taste to your meats.
The benefits of cooking with wine are tremendous. It is up to you to choose what wine to use for cooking, but either way, it’s better than frying your food or cooking in butter. Wine helps simmer food faster and can sometimes lead to better-tasting meals. It is a healthy choice all around and can definitely be a delicious addition to your meals, but be sure to follow the recipe!