Wine & Food

Snooth User: tgrh8r25

Cooking with wine

Posted by tgrh8r25, Oct 28, 2009.

I need a recommendation. I loooooove to cook, and I've discovered a lot of recipes that call for wine. I've been cooking with just a bottle of $10 white wine. Is this the right thing to do, or should I actually buy "cooking wine"? To me, actual wine would seem better, but I'm new at this. Also, I cooked a recipe that called for about 3 cups of red wine, so I just bought a standard non-expensive red wine. However, I have a LOT left over, and I'm not a fan of dry wine. Any suggestions?


Reply by dmcker, Oct 28, 2009.

Welcome to Snooth, tgrh.

Forgot so-called 'cooking wine'. It's usually heavily salted, otherwise stabilized and just plain nasty. The phrase I was taught about selection of wine for cooking was 'cook with the best, drink the rest'. Can't say that I've always followed the letter of that law, since I, friends and family usually want to drink up all the best wine, but you really don't want to cook with wine that's not generally healthy and drinkable.

Yes, use red wine when the recipe calls for it. White wine is good for many recipes, and can be used in a pinch when red's unavailable, but the recipe will change (sometimes greatly) when red isn't used. If you or your husband can't drink the red by itself, you can always turn it into sangria, recork and fridge it and use it in cooking another dish within a few days, or even turn it into vinegar in its own bottle or by adding it to a vinegar cask.

My recommendation is to start tasting a range of reds until you begin to find those you like. In the worst case you'll just have a bit of wine available for sauces, or some very tasty vinegar... ;-)

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 28, 2009.

Welcome to Snooth!

DO not buy cooking wine. First off it's crap wine. Second off they add salt to it.

You should never cook with a wine you won't drink. If you don't like it in it's straight form reducing it is not going to help. Having said that there are plenty of inexpensive wines that I would drink a little of but are perfect for cooking with.

Leftovers? Try freezing the wine. I make wine ice cubes with leftovers, it's easy to grab two or three when I need a small amount of wine to cook with. Store them in a ziplock and squeeze as much air out of the bad to reduce off odors and flavors in the ice. I throw them out ofter 2 or 3 months if I don't use them.

A better idea? Sangria, or with the fall weather apon us, mulled wine is a great way to use up any wine you might have left over from a recipe, or a party.

Reply by tgrh8r25, Oct 28, 2009.

I've heard of Sangria, but I have no idea how to turn wine that I already have into it. Is this just a matter of keeping it for a while, or keeping it refridgerated? Sorry, totally new to the whole wine concept and only going on a few bottles we've tried and the advice of a distributor I harrased in the grocery store! :D I appreciate all your help!

Reply by cigarman168, Oct 28, 2009.

Most people will choose wines to cook as cheap as possible, but my opinions is to choose the one you like, actually it is also consume by yourself after cooking. So, treat yourself well.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Oct 29, 2009.

I mulled wine over the weekend. It's a good thing to do with dry wine (if you don't like to drink dry wine) because the recipe calls for sugar and citrus, which should sweeten it up.

Reply by GregT, Oct 29, 2009.

Sangria is whatever you want it to be. Cut up some oranges, add some sugar, maybe even some orange juice, then a little brandy and a bottle of wine. If you want it more flavorful, throw in some fresh strawberries, some lemon slices, some lime slices, some chopped apple, even pineapple. If you want, you can add some club soda, ginger ale or lemon-lime soda just before serving, although that's not really necessary. It's basically just fruit punch made with wine instead of fruit juice.

As far as cooking, I always wonder how people cook if they don't have wine around. What do you use to deglaze your pan for example? Screw the recipes, if you had some pork chops and onions and mushrooms, how would you deglaze that? Or if you had capers and garlic, what would you use? You should always have wine in the kitchen, just like you should always have salt, pepper, butter, lemon, etc.

I concur wholeheartedly with the above posts - do NOT buy cooking wine or cooking sherry. Just use whatever's left over. Greg has the idea of ice cubes - you can do exactly the same thing with stock or some kind of demi-glace that you've made.

Some people say to use the same wine you're drinking, which I do sometimes if I only need a touch, but it seems kind of dumb to use an expensive wine to make a reduction. Use something cheap that you COULD drink, but not necessarily what you are drinking. I always have opened bottles around so it's not a problem but if I didn't, I'd just open whatever was cheapest.

Also, don't sweat the specific wine too much either. In other words, you don't have to use a Burgundy to make coq au vin. Just keep a couple things in mind. First, a real oaky wine isn't usually a great cooking wine. It can work but again, usually in small doses. If you're using a substantial amount of wine, it's better to use something without real strong oak overtones. Second, mostly what you're doing is adding acid. So there's no real need to use a red wine if you don't have any around. Tomato sauce, etc., is just fine if you use a crisp white wine. To some degree the reverse works too, but coloring comes into the picture and your scallops with garlic and butter will look a gray-purple if you use some cheap barbera.

Reply by tgrh8r25, Nov 16, 2009.

wow, thanks so much for the tips! That was extremely helpful! My cooking has thoroughly improved since changing from cooking wines. All though, I'm a bit stumped as to what would replace Marsala cooking wine, so I've still been using that one.

Reply by dmcker, Nov 16, 2009.

Just buy a regular Marsala, and cook with what you don't drink! Nice, often interesting, sweeter wines for dessert or on their own, and also in sauces for chicken, veal, desserts, etc.

The fortified version is what we usually encounter, and for whatever reason it hasn't developed the market that ports or madeiras have over the past century. I've had unfortified, aged vintage versions in Sicily that were very interesting. Aside from with meat, try it in versions of tiramisu or zabaglione.... Yum!

Reply by GregT, Nov 16, 2009.

Beat me to it.

Exactly - just buy a good Marsala, not the "cooking" verrsion in the store, same as any other wine. It's a fortified wine that's actually made in a manner similar to sherry, so if you want, you can use an oloroso or slightly sweetened sherry. For example, if you make zabaglione, or zabaione, or sabayon, whatever you want to call it, use a moscatel sherry. Awesome!

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