5 essential tips you need when cooking with wine

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From creating delicious sauces to braising chicken, wine has its place in the kitchen, and not just in your glass.

Cooking with wine is an art in itself. You will be working towards creating a culinary masterpiece.

And if you manage to get things right, you get to enjoy a reward blessed with fragrance, taste and pleasing colour.

Knowing how challenging it can be, we have compiled a few tips that you need when cooking with wine.

By following these suggestions, which I also use, you can ensure you will not end up with bad-tasting meals.

1. You can use affordable or expensive wine

You probably don’t want to use that prized bottle of wine that was gifted to you, but those less expensive table wines – yes. That’s not to say that you can’t cook with expensive wine, but I would recommend that top-of-the-line wine is enjoyed the way it was intended – in a glass. Just make sure you choose a wine you like.

2. Don’t know how to start? Just ask for help

Go to the liquor store or winery and find someone who knows what they are talking about. If you can describe the meal you are trying to make, they will probably be able to help you pick one that contains the necessary characteristics to bring out the best flavours in your dish.

3. Red or white?

Choose red or white wine based on what you will drink with dinner. If you are planning to serve chardonnay with your chicken, cook with it as well. A rule of thumb I learnt at food and wine occasions is that you should use red wines for meatier or more flavourful food because the wine is strong enough to hold up to the intense tastes in the dish. Use white wine for lighter dishes. If you put white wine in beef stew, for example, the flavour will be completely lost.

4. Add the wine slowly

When you first start cooking with wine, figuring out how much to use can be challenging if you are not following a recipe. It is best to add a small amount at a time, taste the dish, and then add more if the flavour isn’t strong enough.

5. Don’t wait until it’s too late

You may think you can add wine to your dish at any point in the cooking process, but that’s not the case. When you add your wine depends on what you’re cooking, but another good rule of thumb to follow is this: don’t add your wine too late.

If you’re about to serve your dish, adding a lot of wine at the last minute can give your dish a harsh quality. You don’t want your food to taste like it’s infused with alcohol, so give it at least 10 minutes to let the wine cook down and burn off those less-than-desirable flavours.

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