Mar. 06, 2013 - Issue #907: Garbage Goes Green
Cooking with wineThere's no secret trick to cooking with wine. It's easy to incorporate wine into various stages of the cooking process—think of it as just another way to enhance the flavour of your food. Cooking with wine is a great way to use up leftover wine that has been open for a while and is no longer good for drinking (stick bottles in the fridge to keep them fresher for longer). Though hardcore foodies will argue that you shouldn't cook with any wine you wouldn't drink on its own, for most people it's far more practical (and still thoroughly enjoyable) to cook with cheap wine—save the good stuff for drinking.
This is one of the easiest methods of cooking with wine and is a simple way to kick up the flavour of a dish. Marinades can be used for everything from steaks and chicken to fish and tofu—or even mushrooms and root vegetables. All you have to do is pour the wine over the food, add some spices or herbs and let it sit for a while—the length of time depends on the type of food and the desired intensity of flavour. Keep in mind that the wine's acids will actually cook the food a little bit, so don't let anything sit for too long: fish should be marinated in wine for no more than an hour, while a beef roast could be marinated overnight. Generally, red meat should be marinated in red wine and white meat in white wine; also be aware that red wine will dye food a bluish-purple colour, which grows more intense the longer it marinates.
Though this cooking technique may sound complicated, deglazing simply involves adding liquid to a pan in which something has been roasted or sautéed, bringing it to a boil, and then reducing the liquid—by simmering over heat—for a few minutes. This creates a flavourful jus or sauce that can be poured over the final dish, or it can be combined with a thickening agent (usually flour or cornstarch) to make gravy. Using wine to deglaze a pan is a standard cooking practice, though leftover marinade (especially wine-based marinade) or stock can also be used.
Stock, soup and sauce
If making a stock from scratch, feel free to substitute some of the water for wine. You can also add wine to soups, stews and pasta sauces right at the beginning of the cooking process, just after sautéing (simmer for a few minutes before topping up with additional liquid); or simply add a dash of wine to a soup or stew in the final cooking stages and adjust to taste, just as you would with salt and pepper. Fortified wines like port, sherry and Madeira can also be used instead of regular table wine (in lesser quantities), giving additional richness and overall complexity.
When using wine in after-dinner sweets, stick to dessert wines like port, icewine, late harvest or fortified varieties. You can substitute an ounce or two of dessert wine for some of the liquid ingredients in a dessert, or just add a bit of wine in addition to the other ingredients in frosting, cake batter, pie filling and other mixtures. Or, simply pour some dessert wine over plain vanilla ice cream and dig in. V vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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