Wine is a culinary pleasure that many people enjoy drinking and cooking with. However, some people don’t realize it’s not the actual taste of the wine that makes it a great addition to dishes but its ability to enhance the flavor of food.
The three most common ways to cook with wine are to use it in marinades, to help cook and simmer foods and to help flavor finished dishes. So how do you choose which wine is right for your dish? Here are five tips:
1. For savory dishes, use dry wine. This type of wine has less sugar and more alcohol.
2. This may seem obvious but for sweet recipes, use sweet wine! They have larger amounts of natural sugars remaining from the grapes, making themgreat in dessert dishes.
3. Red wine goes best with food like red meat, soups and beef stock while white wine is better for fish, poultry, light creams and sauces.
4. Don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink! Most quality wines are “full-bodied.” When you cook with wine, most of the alcohol evaporates so you’re really just left with the sugars, aromas, etc. If you choose an average wine you will be left with an average dish!
5. Avoid “cooking wine.” They are often very diluted, salty and may contain additives that can result in unexpectedly unpleasant flavors in your food.
Try this Cuisinart Original Recipe to get you started!
Ancho Chile Sauce
Makes 1½ cups
6 dried ancho chiles
1 large shallot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 garlic clove
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock, hot
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
Reconstitute chiles: place them in a bowl, and pour boiling water over them so that they are completely covered. Cover bowl with foil, or an inverted plate. Allow the chiles to sit until they soften, about 30 to 45 minutes. Once soft, remove all seeds and stems, and reserve.
While chiles are soaking, insert the blade assembly in the prep bowl. Add the shallot, garlic and jalapeño and process until roughly chopped, about 6 to 8 seconds. Reserve.
In a 3½-quart sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, jalapeño and a pinch of the salt. Stir and sauté until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved chiles and heat through for about a minute. Stir in white wine. Scrape any bits that are clinging to the bottom of the pan. Allow wine to reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to allow mixture to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the remaining salt, honey and lime/lemon juice. Using the Cuisinart® Cordless Stick Blender, blend until mixture begins to thicken and is completely smooth. Be sure to keep the metal blade completely submerged while blending.
Adjust seasoning to taste.