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Old 11-25-2011, 12:43 PM   #1
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Substituting red cooking wine with a cabernet sauv?

I'm making a pot of spaghetti sauce and don't have red cooking wine. Can I substitute some cabernet instead? what about a merlot?

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Old 11-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #2
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Yes and yes. I'd go with the merlot as it has fewer tannins.

I also strongly recommend you NEVER use cooking wine. It's doctored with salt and who knows what else and really sucks. Rule of thumb = if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it. It doesn't have to be expensive, just drinkable.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:09 PM   #3
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Cabernet would be nice, as would Chianti. Then drink the rest of the Chianti with dinner.
Totally agree with not ever using cooking wines for the reasons Andy says. The wine you cook with should *always* be wine you want to drink.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
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Great great responses, guys. Informative and educational. Thanks very much...

on a side note... I'd like to add mushrooms to my spaghetti sauce. I'm making a bunch so it'll be sitting on the burner for a few hours. When should I add the mushrooms?
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:18 PM   #5
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Up front.
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Old 11-25-2011, 05:28 PM   #6
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Thank goodness you didn't have any "cooking wine", CF !!

Mushrooms can be added bout now. Are you using both fresh and dried?
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:34 AM   #7
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Great tips on the wine. I totally agree. You can find lots of very "drinkable" reds for under $5. As for the mushrooms, I'd encourage you to try sauteing them until they're golden brown and then adding the other ingredients (assuming we're talking about fresh mushrooms). Browning mushrooms does a great job of bringing out their natural flavor. Start your recipe with the mushrooms and add the rest on top of them (after browning). Mushrooms are very durable and won't overcook.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Yes and yes.

I also strongly recommend you NEVER use cooking wine. = if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it.

Amen. That is all ya may need to know about cooking with wine, in a nutshell.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:47 AM   #9
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I hate to chime in since I simply agree with everyone - this is one of the first "rules of thumb" I was taught in my cooking experience. Living in PA, we don't have very convenient access to real wine. Sale of wine and liquor is controlled by the state and only available for purchase at state stores. You'd think there'd be one near each grocery store out of convenience, but that's the thing about government-run retail monopolies - customer convenience doesn't mean squat.

The alternative is to buy that "cooking wine," loaded with all kinds of nasty stuff, mainly to make it undrinkable so it can be sold at grocery stores in states - like PA - where grocery stores aren't allowed to sell wine. I never let myself get tempted into taking this shortcut.

Thankfully, I live close enough to Maryland where I always stock up on some super cheap, but very much drinkable (and sometimes even delicious) sub $10 and $5 wines.

I've found that the difference in varietals (cab sauv, pinot noir, merlot, etc) is not very noticeable in a final dish - I've even substituted red for white wine in recipes that call for it with quite a bit of success.
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