Article Document

Close this search box.

By Emily Smith

Cooking with wine

There is a misconception that cooking with wine is only for the classically trained chef; however, with a little basic knowledge and a fabulous recipe, anyone can cook with wine. Whether preparing a romantic dinner for two or cooking a comfort family meal, wine elevates the flavor of any dish.

Wine can be used as a marinade, cooking liquid or used for sauces. During the cooking process, the alcohol will evaporate, leaving an intense and distinct flavor. After the liquid is brought to a boil, the heat is lowered and the liquid simmers for a specified period of time. This method is called reducing.

In cooking with wine, your options are either white or red wine.

White wine

White wine has a light, citrus flavor, usually with notes of fruit such as apple, pear or melon. It pairs well with chicken, fish, seafood and vegetable dishes. Some commonly used white wines for cooking are pinot grigio, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Try to avoid sweet wines such as chenin blanc, Champagne or moscato which can make a dish overly sweet.

Red wine

Red wine has a robust, earthy flavor and often has notes of cherry, plum or blackberry. It pairs well with beef. Some examples of red wines used for cooking are merlot, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon.

Avoid using bottles labeled "cooking wines" which are found at the grocery store. These are over-priced and usually have high sodium content. That being said, it is not necessary to buy expensive, premium wine either. Good flavor can come from a mid-level-priced bottle. It may take some trial and error before finding the perfect type.

There is controversy on whether it is safe for children to eat dishes cooked with wine. Many cooking experts agree that as long as the dish is cooked correctly it is perfectly safe. The key is to make sure all of the alcohol has evaporated from the liquid by cooking at a high temperature for an extended period of time. If in doubt, chicken or beef stock can be used as a substitute.

A few cooking with wine beginner recipes include:

Braised lamb chops

1-2 lbs. (approximately 4) shoulder lamb chops

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, diced

¼ cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp. flour

1/2 cup white wine

½ cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, add 1 Tbsp. oil and sear lamb over high heat about 3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate. Lower heat to medium high, heat remaining oil and add onions. Cook until translucent, or about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Slowly add wine and chicken stock, stirring constantly until combined. Add rosemary. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Add lamb, with any juices on the plate, back to skillet. Cover and simmer on for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle parsley over before serving.

Salmon with honey and dill sauce

1-2 lbs. salmon

1 onion, diced

½ cup fresh dill, minced

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. flour

1 cup white wine

2 Tbsp. honey

Salt and pepper

Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper; set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add onions. Cook until translucent, or about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Slowly add wine, stirring constantly until combined. Add honey and dill and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salmon, skin side down, to skillet. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Chicken penne with herb cream sauce

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked and drained

¼ cup olive oil

1-2 lbs. cooked chicken breasts (about 4), cut into strips

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

1 cup white wine

½ cup chicken broth

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute; add tomatoes and basil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock and heavy cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add Parmesan, cooked chicken and cooked pasta and toss until combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated cheese.

Cooking with wine is an essential way to add flavor to a meal. The best advice is simply to choose a recipe, gather the ingredients and start. Many home cooks are intimidated at the idea, but with a little basic knowledge of wine and food pairings, anyone can master cooking with wine.

Share on:

Recent Articles

Join Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the newest blog posts. No spam.
Email *

Write For Us

Interested in becoming a contributor on Article Document?

We’d love to display your work and show off your expertise!