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Cooking with wine – How to make it work


Adding wine to your favourite recipe can impart wonderful flavour, but too much or the wrong style can ruin the potentially delicious dinner. Here’s how to make it work:

Consider Components

Wine contains sugars, acids and tannins, and each of these will show up on the plate. Subtle characteristics, by contrast, normally disappear with cooking. To maintain balance, check your recipe for acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar and cut back to make room for the acid in the wine. This is especially crucial when cooking with white wine. For delicate fish or vegetables, a dry non-oaked wine works best. If your recipe is packed with onions, carrots and tomatoes, there will be plenty of sugars in the pot, so cooking with a fuller-bodied, less dry red or white wine can integrate perfectly.

Red or White?

Use the type of wine you’d serve with dinner to make the dish. Even better, unless you’re pouring something rare or expensive, buy an extra bottle and cook with it. When you’re cooking with red wine, watch out for tannins. When concentrated in reduction sauces, they can become harsh. Fortunately, proteins found in meat and dairy declaw tannins like milk does tea.



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