Cooking With Red Wine

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There are a few basic rules to follow when cooking with red wine that will almost guarantee a great result. With careful selection of wine and food ingredients anyone can please family, friends and colleagues.



Experienced cooks and professional chefs avoid the use of cheaper wines because the final flavor of the dish will be affected. One of the effects of using cheap wine is bitterness, a trait to be avoided at all costs. In contrast, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on exclusive wines only to use them for cooking.

These “top-shelf” items should be savored, one sip at a time. So, it’s best to use a wine that falls somewhere in the middle of the scale so that the recipe has the desired flavor without excess cost. Remember, there are some excellent drinking wines that will be great for your recipes and they won’t empty your wallet.

Ingredients for cooking with red wine.

Ingredients for cooking with red wine


Those who are not familiar with the use of red wine in cooking might be surprised to learn that many of best dishes prepared by professionals include wine. Many of the finer restaurants provide a lot of detail about the ingredients used in a special dish, without giving away the recipe. In some cases the use of a particular wine is included in a menu explanation.

What you probably won’t find is a recipe that urges the use of “cooking” wine. In fact, several of the better recipes, books and online instructions emphasize that cooking wine should not be used in better recipes.

Why, you may ask? Because some of the cooking wines have added salt that can completely change the result. Instead, an appropriate wine should be used as described earlier. This wine should be suitable for the dish and meal that is being served.

Wine bottles with cook in background. It’s a bit difficult to “recommend” a perfect red wine for cooking, since there are several excellent choices. In general, recipes should include a dry wine, though you may want to select Chianti or another type that has a bit more body or fruitiness.

Zinfandels work in certain recipes, while Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon are good for other dishes. One chef in the Midwest United States uses a local dry Chambourcin-based wine for an original beef dish.

It’s also a good idea to match the wine with the ethnic source or national source of the recipe – Italian wine for Italian food etc. If you can’t afford the expensive French wines for a French dish, try to match your recipe with a good Italian red.

Some chefs, both professional and amateur, state that they have good luck with a Syrah for certain dishes. Whatever the wine you choose, those that are lightly oaked are best, as are the wines that have less tannic character.

If you have a recipe that needs a dry white wine for cooking ... an excellent choice can be with vermouth. Choose this ingredient carefully however, because there are a few different types of vermouth. Some are sweeter than others; some have a bit more of tonic taste.

Pinot wines may be best for recipes, while most experienced chefs avoid using Chardonnay.

Enjoy your meal!



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