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Locally Carei: Wine adds enhanced level to food |

Locally Carei: Wine adds enhanced level to food

Man has been cooking with wine as long as we have been drinking it.

The are several reasons to cook with wine, because it does enhance the flavor of food, gives another layer to the flavor profile and at times acts as a tenderizer.


My number one rule with cooking with wine: if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it. Number two rule is to avoid ‘cooking wines’. Wines labeled as cooking wines are usually salty and are a generic form of wine that could adversely affect the taste of your dish.

When choosing wine to cook with, think of how you are going to use it. An expensive wine is not necessary. But, make sure the wine you choose has good tasting qualities as they will be enhanced during cooking. Use a well-balanced, quality, young full-flavored wine. These will stand up to more quality.

The personality of your dish must match the wine you use. Fruity wines are probably not your best choice. If it is sweet and fruity, heat will turn the wine acidic

If you are new to using wines in your cooking, use the Kiss principal: Keep it simple and the more you cook with it, the more you will be able to match flavors. Wine needs time to work, so wait for a little in the cooking process to taste before deciding you need to add more wine. Also, a wine’s flavor profile will be different at low heat on slow simmer versus a high heat with a flash, so choose how you want your flavor. The earlier you put your wine in, the more balanced it will be. Try not to add wines to dishes at the end of cooking, only in some cases does it work, like turtle soup.

When cooking with wine, try to avoid using aluminum or cast iron pans. The acid will react and give a metallic taste to your dishes. Try to use non-reactive cookware.

You usually match the color of wines to the color of your meats. Of course there are some exceptions. But, usually white wines go with white meats like fish and chicken. Red wines are usually paired with red meats like steak and lamb. While veal and pork can go both ways.

For your sauces, red wine is usually paired with your dark sauces and white wines usually are paired with light and cream sauces. And the trend continues with soups as reds are used for you hearty stews and whites are used for seafood, chicken and cream soups. Sweet wines are a wonderful pairing for desserts; however, don’t pair them with high-heat cooking and sauteing.

Fortified wines, such as port, Madeira, Marsala and sherry, are also great wines to use in cooking. These can be substituted in many dishes, even your desserts. It will add a stronger flavor to your dishes. Substituting Marsala for white wine will produce a bolder, almost sweet taste to your dish.

Keep in mind that a bottle of wine used for cooking should be used in a timely manner, just as you would drink it.

Believe it or not, regional foods are enhanced by regional wines. So if you are cooking French food, you would want to use French wine. The same with Italian, German, American, etc. It really does pair up right.

Wine is great to use to marinate meats. If necessary, the toughness is broken down by the tannins and the acidity cuts the fat. When incorporated with the wine, it is hard to dry out when cooking.

The more you cook with wine, the better your food will taste. And keep in mind, the more you drink it while cooking with it, the food will definitely taste even better.

Beef Bourguignonne

1 pound sirloin cut in strips

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cups sliced onions

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup beef stock

Flour for dredging

¼ cup oil for sautéing

Salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan. Season steak with salt and pepper. Sauté in oil. Set aside meat.

Add onions and mushrooms and cook until soft. Deglaze pan with red wine. Add beef stock, simmer until reduced, then add steak, simmer a couple of minutes and serve.

Wine marinate — red or white

2 cups dry wine( red or white)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2-3 tablespoons of favorite herb

Blend all ingredients and pour over item to be marinade. Let sit for an hour to overnight. Fish only needs marinated for about an hour. After that, you’re working on Ceviche.

Strawberries and wine

1½ cup strawberries, quartered

1 teaspoon brown sugar

¾ cup sweet Reisling or marsala

Toss the brown sugar in the strawberries, once macerated, pour wine over. Let sit an hour and serve.

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