From vodka to beer, booze is great for drinking, great for mixing, and, yes, great for cooking with. But there's really no alcohol better for bringing into the kitchen than wine. From savory dishes to sweet ones, wine is so versatile that it can make almost any meal better. And contrary to popular belief, it's easy to cook with.
These are my seven favorite ways to include wine right in the meal. No matter if it's red or white, your food will be made instantly better.
Poached pears make a delicious dessert or an elegant appetizer. And they're very easy to make.
This is about as easy of a French sauce as you'll find.
- Cook the shallots in the wine until the wine is reduced by half (you can also add a few sprigs of herbs during this step, such as thyme or rosemary).
- When the wine has reduced, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, one tablespoon at a time (make sure that each tablespoon is fully incorporated before adding the next).
- Season to taste, and pour over your favorite meats or veggies (it goes perfectly with duck).
Deglazing may be a fancy term, but it's a remarkably simple process. All it means is adding liquid to a hot pan after you've used the pan to help remove the delicious flavors that may be stuck to the bottom and incorporate them into your dish.
There's no better liquid for deglazing than wine, which adds so much flavor to a dish. After cooking a meat or some veggies, add about a ½ cup of wine to your pan and immediately scrape off the browned bits on the bottom. Cook for a few seconds to reduce the wine, then pour it over your dish.
Melted chocolate alone is great, but add wine to the mix and you've got some gourmet sauce that's easy on the budget.
- Add the chocolate, butter, and salt to a saucepan and heat over your stove's lowest setting, while constantly stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is melted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.
- In a separate saucepan, heat up the wine until it is simmering and add it to the chocolate mixture.
- Stir until the wine is fully integrated into the chocolate, then let sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve with cookies, ice cream, or fresh fruit, or pour the sauce over the top of a cake.
When you steam clams or mussels, you need to add liquid which both cooks the seafood and opens up the shells. The ideal liquid for this step is a white wine, which will add both sweetness and acidity to your seafood dish.
Fondue is one of the most luxurious foods in the world, but it's also incredibly simple and may be the best way to cook with wine. To make fondue, check out our easy recipe.
Coq au vin is perhaps my favorite dish of all time. Chicken and wine, cooked together for a long amount of time... the chicken gets fall-off-the-bone tender and is infused with both the rich flavor and gorgeous color of the wine. Add some onions, mushrooms, and a little fresh thyme and you have a dish that is worthy of being one of the signatures of the great Julia Child.
If you've never made coq au vin (which literally translates to "chicken in wine"), then you should do so as soon as you get the chance. It will have you exclaiming "Bon appétit!" (possibly with a funny accent).
As the saying goes, "I always cook with wine... sometimes I even put it in the food!" Wine is delicious for cooking, delicious for drinking, and a must-have in any kitchen.