Cooking with Wine

Have you ever been eating a dish that you just created thinking it was a masterpiece, and then after your first bite you think to yourself, “It’s missing something..”  That something may be wine.  The best part about cooking with wine is being able to share!  By this I mean, a little for the food… A little for you.. A little for the food… Ok you get it!  I have always said that cooking should be fun and passionate, so grab a glass of wine and crank up the Temptations, or whatever floats your boat.  The point is to enjoy yourself while cooking and NEVER view it as a chore.

Back to cooking with wine.  I have always been taught when incorporating wine into a dish to never use something you yourself would not drink.  Now this does not mean when making  Coq Au Vin or Osso Bucco that you bust out a bottle of Nickel and Nickel Merlot.  Don’t get me wrong drinking that while cooking would be pretty nice, but let’s just keep that for drinking.  I am thinking more along the lines of using a nice $6 to $10 bottle of wine.  There are several different things you can do when cooking with wine, sauces, infusions, braising, but for all intensive purposes let’s ease you into this concept.  The first thing you should use wine is for deglazing.  So when you are caramelizing your onions, garlic, proteins, etc. hit it with a little wine and watch the smoke roll off and the food you are cooking infuse all of that wonderful wine flavor.  The kind of grape to use will completely depend on what it is you are cooking.  For instance, white with chicken, fish, vegetables, light colored soups and red with meat, dark soups, braises, etc.   The second cooking method, for now, to use wine in is braises.  Think of how much more flavorful your roast or chicken will be when using wine.  If you are filling up your braising dish with water or stock, cut that in half and replace it with wine.  The acidity in the wine will help break down the protein you are cooking for maximum tenderness, juiciness and flavor.  So the next time you are contemplating what to put into your dish, try a little wine!

Chef Billy Parisi

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