Many of us have fond memories of the late Julia Child enthusiastically adding wine to many of her most popular dishes. Europeans, particularly the French and Italians, have been creating culinary masterpieces with wine for centuries. Americans, in recent times, have started adding wine to popular recipes. Acheiving success cooking with wine is relatively easy, provided one follows some basic guidelines.
The "rule of thumb" when selecting a cooking wine is to select a wine you wouldn't mind drinking. Definitely avoid selecting a wine you prefer to drink. The truth of the matter is that all fine wines lose their wonderful characteristics during the cooking process, anyway. It is a good policy to avoid "cooking wines" from the grocery store, as they are often laced with additional sodium. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable to use whatever wine you have on hand. The type of wine used for cooking does not have to match the wine being served with the meal.
The great fun of cooking with wine is the experimenting! Their are very few hard and fast rules. Generally, white wines are better for cooking with poultry, fish and pork. Red wines are generally better with beef. Your taste buds are always the best judge. White wines can add some needed acidity to rich, creamy sauces. Unless it is specifically noted in the recipe, use dry wines for cooking rather than sweet wines.
The amount of wine you add to your dish depends on personal taste and the volume of food being prepared. You want to be sure that the wine has the opportunity to "cook off"during the simmering process. Too much wine will make that process take too long. Once you have determined the right amount of wine to add to a particular dish, definitely make a note on the recipe of the amount. Voila! the trial and error is done.
Knowing how to cook with wine will greatly enhance the flavors of many of your favorite dishes. Ultimately, experimenting is the key to your success. Oh, and what fun that is!!