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Old 11-15-2005, 12:57 AM   #1
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Why do you cook with wine?

I'm new to cooking and am learning by borrowing recipes from online and trying to make them. I recently made a chickedn dish that called for white wine and sherry. It came out great. but left me with the question:

Why do you cook with wine? What does it do to the food? What does it add to the taste? Is all the alcohol removed through the heat? If I understood how it works in recipes, maybe I could start throwing it in a few more dishes or know what to keep in the house.

Thanks.

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Old 11-15-2005, 01:06 AM   #2
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Cooking with wine

I love to cook with wine because of the flavor it imparts to the dishes. I use it to deglaze and to add another layer of flavor to sauces and gravies.

All of the alcohol does not burn off. For people seriously addicted to alcohol it can be a problem.

There are substitutions available - apple juice, some vinegars, etc. This has been addressed in other places on this forum.

Personally, though, I enjoy cooking with wine - the trouble is that you have to check for quality often....if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of wine for instance and I open a new bottle I find there is no wine left when the dish is finished because I keep checking!
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Old 11-15-2005, 08:30 AM   #3
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There are numerous reasons to cook with wine. Depending on the recipe those reasons will change.

Chicken or veal marsala uses marsala wine as a main ingredient. In this recipe it is the actual flavor of the wine that you are after.

There are some favors that are only released in the presence of alcohol. For instance, tomatoes have a flavor compound that only comes out when combined with alcohol. You will not taste this flavor any other way. An example of this would be a vodka sauce. Vodka (which is flavorless for the most part) is combined with tomatoes to bring out that "hidden" flavor. I know you asked about wine and not all alcohols, but this can apply to wine as well.

Sometimes wine is used for the acidity. It can add a brightness or fresh taste to some dishes.

Like lindatooo mentioned, the alcohol almost always will not cook off. Even if you flambe a dish you are still left with a majority of the alcohol.
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:16 AM   #4
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A good tip for using left-over wine is to put them in an ice-cube tray and freeze. I then decant them into plastic bags and just add red or white wine cubes to add a little 'oomph' to a dish that tastes as though there might be a 'missing' ingredient! The ice-cube trays aren't very nice, particularly the purply-coloured stained ones I use for red wine.
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:41 AM   #5
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leftover wine????????????

ah-hahahahaha ahhhh-hahahahahahahahaaaaaa

ishbel, you kill me...

the best reason to cook with wine is some of it might actually get into the dish, enhancing or adding levels of flavor. the rest enhances the meal by making to cook happy.
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:11 AM   #6
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I never really studied the effect of wine in cooking scientifically, but I just love the flavour it produces and I use it a lot, both red and white version, and sometimes marsala. It really gives a depth, sort of three dimentional twist to the flavour of the dish you are cooking... Red goes well with tomato based recipes, also it is a must for my pasta sauce recipe. White is particularly good with seafood, and depends on the recipe chicken can go really well with any kind of wine.
The best way is just experiment with it, even if you don't care for alcoholic drinks most of the alcohol would evaporate while getting cooked and you would hardly taste it in the end, so you shouldn't worry about that too much, unless, like Lindaloo said, you have a severe problem with alcohol, or there is some conflict with some personal principle.
Another thing to remember is, avoid those "cooking wines" you would find in the cooking condiment sections. The quality is awful with lots of unnecessary additives. You don't need to use an expensive wine, but my personal rule of thumb is if it is not drinkable by itself, don't use it.
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom
leftover wine????????????

ah-hahahahaha ahhhh-hahahahahahahahaaaaaa

ishbel, you kill me...

the best reason to cook with wine is some of it might actually get into the dish, enhancing or adding levels of flavor. the rest enhances the meal by making to cook happy.

Heheheeee - So I'm only talking about the last coupla inches in a bottle....


And, Urmaniac is right - never put wine into a dish if you would not like to drink it! Luckily we don't see 'cooking wines' here in the UK...
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:54 AM   #8
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Does freezing it change its flavor when you cook with it????
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Old 11-15-2005, 11:23 AM   #9
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Not that I've ever detected. But I only use it when I'm tasting a sauce and feel it needs a little more 'oomph'... When I cook a sauce from scratch, I generally use a bottle of good wine from the wine rack.
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:49 PM   #10
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Just think of wine an an ingredient and treat it that way.Some countries will use more wine in recipes than others,just like some countries use more coconut.Which reminds me I use too much garlic.
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