Followed by her favorite recipe suggestions and wine pairing recommendations, learn more about how to cook with wine—written by Guest Blogger and Wine Guide, Jenna M Shreve.
We all have those particular wines we gravitate towards for reasons only our hearts (and our palates) can define. Like you, I am not above enjoying a glass in the evening while cooking (or even baking). Better yet, I prefer to add the wine I am enjoying in my food.
Cooking with wine is meant to enhance and intensify the flavors and aromas of the foods. Just like with other seasonings, the amount of wine that you add plays a critical part in how the meal turns out. And just as important as the amount of wine you add, so is the type of wine you add.
Even if a recipe calls for it, avoid using those items labeled as cooking wines. They are typically loaded with preservatives and other additives that can alter your meal to tasty too salty or sweet. Instead, choose to cook with a white or red wine that you enjoy.
There’s no need to reach for the expensive bottle you’ve been saving for that special occasion, but you also don’t want to grab the cheapest bottle on the store shelves. When choosing your wine, a ‘happily priced bottle’ of your favorite varietal will do perfectly.
Other key details to remember when cooking with wine:
- Choose a wine that you would drink – choosing varietals you wouldn’t normally sip will make the food less enjoyable.
- Choose wines that complement the food – if you wouldn’t pair the wine with the food, then don’t add it to the food.
- Add the wine to the food early to avoid alcohol pungency – if you forget to add it, reduce it in a separate pan before adding.
Now pour yourself a glass of wine and join me as we explore some of my favorite recipes.
Red Wine Mushrooms
Whether you choose to enjoy as a side to your meal, an appetizer, or if you are like me, as an afternoon snack, you will surely find pleasure with every bite of this Red Wine Mushroom recipe. When I first came across this recipe nearly a year ago, and I read that the author used a Merlot they had available. I immediately grabbed for my freshly purchased baby bella mushrooms and a bottle of our LUXX, Merlot and got to cooking. Nearly 15 minutes later (and a small bit of basil that I wanted to use up), I poured myself a glass and sat with a plate of these beautiful mouth-watering mushrooms cooked in butter, garlic, and red wine. And of course, pairing it with the same wine I cooked with only made my self-indulged snack that much better. The wine itself offered dark fruit with some earthiness, however the robust herbaceous flavors exploded when paired together. Needless to say, I had to try this again with shiitake mushrooms and was just as happily satisfied if not even more so.
I have always been a fan of lemony chicken dishes and found a Chicken Piccata (also known as Lemon Chicken and Cappers) recipe similar to that served at my favorite Italian restaurant. I love to cook but I don’t like to spend a great deal of time preparing prior to cooking so I like to short cut the recipe by not pounding out the chicken but instead butterflying it creating two pieces. (I’ve even substituted tilapia for a lighter fare.) The time I free up also gives me a chance to enjoy a tasting of our Steeple Street, Chardonnay, which gives character to the lemony butter sauce. And of course, the ideal pairing for the meal is the wine you cooked with.
Red Wine Chili
For a hearty meal that all but cooks itself, try our Tanglerose, Red Wine Lot 22A, in this slow-cooker Chili recipe. This well-structured 6 component red blend offers all the aromas and flavors a delicious chili could need from earthy notes and black pepper. And although the recipe calls for the wine to be added in during the last two hours of cooking, this may not work well with most schedules. Adding the wine early on not only allows those flavors to emerge and blend with the other ingredients but also eliminates any chance of alcohol pungency giving you all the flavors and little to none of the alcohol.
And of course, let’s not forget the finale – dessert. There is nothing like a delicious dessert to enjoy especially when it’s made with wine. But instead of a sweet wine, grab our Bentgate, Cabernet Sauvignon, for this homemade No Churn Red Wine Ice Cream served with Red Wine Brownies. The process for making this 5 ingredient ice cream is a fairly easy but I have found freezing them in silicone molds simplified the servings and once frozen, I stored these perfect serving size balls in freezer bags to save space. Even with baking these moist red wine spiked brownies, this truly is an adulting dessert duo. So weather you top the brownie with the ice cream or along the side of, all that is left is to pair it up with a glass of Bentgate and ‘wined’ down for the evening with a good movie.
Love wining and dining? You can scan the back of any Traveling Vineyard wine for a complete list of perfect pairings—from cheeses to apps, dinners to desserts, there’s something for everyone to love.