Kiss Bland Goodbye: How Cooking Wine Adds Wow to Your Family Dinners

Elevate your next family dinner with a delicious homemade meal prepared with cooking wine!  This ingredient can add surprising depth and complexity to even the simplest dishes.

Before you get started, there are a few key things to remember about cooking with wine. Most importantly, choose a wine you enjoy drinking yourself.  If you wouldn’t drink it on its own, the flavor might overpower your dish.

Skip the “cooking wine” aisle at the grocery store and past the commercial refrigerator supply.  Instead, opt for a good quality, but affordable bottle of wine.  Remember, any leftover wine can be enjoyed with dinner! Finally, double-check that your chosen wine hasn’t spoiled, as this can impart a vinegary taste to your dish.

So, how do you use cooking wine?  There are three main ways.  First, it can be used as a flavoring agent, adding depth and complexity to your dish.  Second, wine can be used as a marinade, infusing your protein with delicious flavor.  Finally, it can be used as a cooking liquid, simmering alongside other ingredients to create a flavorful base.

No matter how you use it, remember that a little goes a long way.  Wine should enhance the existing flavors of your dish, not overpower them.  To achieve this, add the wine early in the cooking process.  This allows the alcohol to evaporate, leaving behind the concentrated flavor and acidity.

Cooking wine does contain alcohol, like regular drinking wine. However, most of the alcohol evaporates during cooking, especially with higher temperatures and longer cooking times.  The remaining amount is usually negligible.  If you’re concerned about even trace amounts of alcohol, especially for children or pregnant women, there are non-alcoholic substitutes available that can mimic the flavor profile of wine.

Generally, lighter colored wines like Pinot Grigio pair well with seafood and lighter dishes.  Red wines like Merlot complement heartier meals like beef stew or lamb chops.  Of course, these are just suggestions! Feel free to experiment and find what flavor combinations you enjoy most.

For beginners, consider using Merlot or Pinot Grigio.  These versatile wines are easy to pair with a variety of dishes.  With a little practice and these tips, you’ll be creating restaurant-worthy meals at home in no time!

Infographic provided by Iron Mountain

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