to use wine to enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes.
are many meals that I prepare that I feel would be compromised
if not paired with a great wine. A nice filet mignon just wouldnt
be the same without a deep oaky cabernet! The beauty of it is
that wine can be so much more than just a beverage served with
dinner. Those same delicious flavors that your palate experiences
when enjoying a glass of wine can also be infused into a variety
of dishes. As a chef I get great pleasure in experimenting with
the various flavors wine can impart on the food itself during
the cooking process. Various wines can add so much diversity and
flavor to your cooking, whether you are using it as a marinade,
a compliment to a stew, deglazing a pan or simply using it to
poach or steam fish and shellfish. Luckily wine, unlike beer,
is something that Celiacs can enjoy with their meals with
great peace of mind.
as a flavor enhancer versus an intoxicant
you cook with wine you are using it to concentrate the flavor
or essence of the wine not impart a harsh alcohol taste into your
food. During the cooking process most of the alcohol is evaporated
off, hence the longer the cooking time, the more alcohol gets
evaporated. However, research shows that even after 2 1/2 hours
of cooking time some alcohol does remain in the food. Unless you
are cooking something like Coq au Vin, where copius quantities
of wine are required, you should feel fairly confident that your
guests will not walk away tipsy, since most recipes using wine
only call for small measurements.
to choose appropriate wines
golden rule among great cooks is "if you wouldnt drink
it, dont cook with it!". The cooking process will not
improve the undesirable qualities of bad wine it will only
accentuate them. Choose wines that will tie in with the wine you
are drinking with the meal. Avoid the "Cooking Wines"
available in the grocery stores they contain a lot of salt
and taste terrible. Affordable drinking wines are much better
and really will only cost you a few dollars more. A great way
to have good wine on-hand is to use any left-overs (stuff that
is too good to waste but no longer suitable to drink). Conversely,
heat tends to kill the subtle nuances in complex wines, so save
those special, expensive wines for drinking.
well-stocked pantry will include several different types of wine
on hand to cook with. I tend to always have a nice, inexpensive
dry white wine always stocked in my refrigerator. White wines
that have higher acidity levels are especially good because of
their bright citrus and green apple notes. Chardonnays dont
work as well in cooking due to their oaky, buttery flavor. When
reduced during the cooking process the oaky flavors tend to turn
bitter and dont really add anything to the finished dish.
Good whites to have on hand include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris,
Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Sémillon. Choose red wines
that have moderate tannins like a Merlot, a lighter Cabernet or
a Pinot Noir. These are great to cook with because the acidity
will boost the other flavors in the dish. Be careful of very full-bodied
reds like big Cabernets or Syrahs these contain big tannins
which can leave a chalky taste when the wine is reduced.
addition to your standard red and white table wines, there are
other wonderful wines that can impart incredible flavor as well
as bring out other flavors hidden within the ingredients of the
dish you are preparing. Examples of these wines include Japanese
Sake, Madeira, Marsala, Port and Sherry. These wines have very
unique flavors and can do wonderful things to a fairly common
Tenderloin with Shiitakes & Madeira
and Marsala are fortified wines that are usually not reduced.
Unlike red and white table wines they will become unpalatable
if overcooked to prevent this from happening reduce your
sauce before adding Marsala or Madeira, then add the fortified
wine and simmer being careful not to boil. I invite you to experiment
with these delicious wines by trying our Beef
Tenderloin with Shiitakes & Madeira (one of
This recipe happens to be an exception to the rule of not reducing
your fortified wines. Like Sherry, Madeira tends to enhance the
flavors of mushrooms creating an explosion of flavor particularly
when paired with a tender beef filet.
wines like Port and Rieslings should rarely be cooked. During
the cooking process the sugars will intensify and the lovely perfumy
nuances will be lost. These wines can be wonderful as a flavoring
for custard sauces, sorbets and fruit salads. If you do choose
to cook with sweet wines, add it toward the end of the cooking
process to preserve the wines subtleties.
to Add Wine:
with Cherry Sauce & Caramelized Onions
get the best flavor and to make sure most of the alcohol is cooked
off, heres some guidelines on when to add wine to your food:
Sauces with Wine
stews and long simmering sauces, particularly with tomato sauces,
add your wine after you have browned your meats and vegetables.
Simmer the wine and let it reduce a bit before adding your other
liquids. By slowly simmering the wine over a long period of time
it will bring out other flavors in the food that you may not otherwise
taste. To see how this is done try this months delicious
with Cherry Sauce & Caramelized Onions.
Crusted Chicken with Pears & Cherries
for Pan Sauces
of the greatest ways to infuse the essence of wine into your food
is to deglaze your pan after you have seared or pan-fried your
meats. Once the meat is done, remove it from the pan and add the
wine. Reduce the wine to a syrupy consistency, scraping up the
browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. To
achieve a rich flavor, reduce it down to au sec, or almost
dry, then add your other liquids like cream or stock and reduce
the mixture down again. To finish your pan sauce, whisk in a tablespoon
or two of butter this will add a nice richness to the sauce.
Glutenfreeda.com has several examples of this technique on the
site. This month try one of our favorites, Pecan
Crusted Chicken with Pears & Cherries.
can add a great dimension to marinades. Not only can it add flavor
to the meat, before cooking, not to mention tenderize it, but
it can be used to make a wonderful base for a sauce. Add the wine
with all the other marinade ingredients. In our wonderful Teriyaki
Salmon we use Sake or Sherry mixed with other aromatics
like ginger and garlic to create an incredible marinade for a
fresh salmon fillet.
& Asparagus Risotto
Wine with Risotto
can be made without wine, however adding a little wine will add
a touch of acidity and enhance this wonderful rice dish. As in
& Asparagus Risotto, you want to add the wine
after the onions or shallots are soft and the rice has been added
to the pan and lightly toasted in butter. Make sure the wine is
almost completely cooked off before you add your stock.
of my favorite shellfish meals is Steamed
Clams or Mussels. The shallots and garlic are sautéed
in the pan until soft and then the wine is added and brought to
a boil. At this point the clams or mussels are added and steamed
until the shells open.
you get a feel for how to use wine in your cooking, Im sure
youll find yourself reaching for a little wine to flavor
your meal quite often.