Using wine in cooking, is not a new concept. It has long been a vital ingredient for many dishes, as it brings out a completely new side of the flavor of a particular dish. Along with the flavor it also adds some acidity to the dish, and this makes it even better than what it could be. There are a number of dishes that do not need wine as an ingredient, but if added can help it reach new heights of culinary delight.
Since the time wine began to be used as an ingredient, people assumed that any old and stale bottle of this fermented grape juice can be mixed in a dish. This does nothing for the dish, and it is widely known now that you must not use any brand of 'cooking wine' that you find on the supermarket shelf. Instead, you should use the one that you have tasted and do not mind drinking.
This has become something of a rule now, that you do not cook in a wine that you will not drink.
Now, there are no rules or guidelines that speak of a particular wine, or restrict any other kind. In fact, each wine has its own properties and add its own subtle taste to the dish, and the choice of which one to use is entirely in the hands of the cook. Most people though, prefer to use dry red wine as this enhances the taste in the best manner.
Buying Red Wine for Cooking
As mentioned earlier, when you are out purchasing cooking wine, you must not buy any of the 'cooking wines' that are available in the market. There are ones that are made specifically for cooking purposes, and they generally, have a salty taste to them which may end up spoiling the flavor of your dish.
All in all, they are not very good so, you must refrain from purchasing these unless you know how to handle them. Instead, you must look to purchase a bottle that you know you can drink. After all, you are going to consume the wine with your dish, so it is best to go for a good one.
The red wine that you use for cooking may not be a very expensive one, but it is advisable to not go for a very cheap variety either. Choose a brand that is reasonably priced, and it is bound to will serve you well.
How to Use Red Wine to Cook
Any seasoned cook will tell you that the purpose of wine is not to disguise or alter the taste of the dish, but to fortify it instead. The flavor and the aroma that the dish would normally produce is highlighted further by the wine, and this makes the dish even better than what it should be. It can be used as a marinade ingredient, a cooking liquid or as a flavoring agent in a completed dish.
The most important thing though, is determining how much of it must be added to the dish. Too little of it will not change anything, and too much of it will end up changing everything. The right amount needs to be added, and this is a crucial step that can only be mastered over time and with experience.
For those worried about the alcohol content in the wine, it would be fitting to know that the alcohol evaporates when the dish is being prepared, leaving only the flavor of the wine behind. It is also a known fact that red wine must not be added to the dish just before it is to be served. It needs to be a part of the dish, and this can be witnessed when the wine has a simmering effect along with the food or the sauce. The ideal time to add it as a finishing agent would be about 10-15 minutes before the dish is to be served.
Keep in mind though, that not all recipes go well with wine. There are certain recipes that are not complete without the addition of the wine, and there are some recipes that say nothing about adding it but get greatly enhanced when you do add some; and there are also those recipes, to which the addition of red wine can absolutely ruin their taste.
Adding a pinch of vinegar along with a few spoons of grape juice with the dish is also said to be a decent substitute for wine, as after all, it is nothing but fermented grape juice. Either way, wine can provide your dish with a great deal of balance and flavor that can enhance the beauty of it.