Technique: Cooking With Red Wine
Why is there such a mystery when it comes to cooking with wine? Recently I was asked if I used expensive wine to make my favorite recipes that call for wine like beef bourguinon or coq au vin. Without hestitation, I replied "no, I use the least expensive or leftover wine."
Many articles have been written with completely opposing views. Some say "never cook with a wine you wouldn't serve with that dish," others say "it doesn't matter what you cook with". A recent taste test showed that the price of the wine didn't make a difference in the taste of the final dish - except that if you used expensive wine you were more likely to use less to have the wine to drink with the meal. So don't feel guilty if you reach for a bargain - or leftover wine in the frig - to add to your pot.
I like to slow cook or reduce the wine in any dish that I'm cooking - bring the pot to a boil on the stove, close the lid and then put the pot into a hot oven for at least 1.5- 2 hours. The wine - and usually I pour it in to cover whatever is cooking - acts to soften and braise the meat or chicken - and the alcohol is completely burned off.
These dishes are best prepared the day before and gently reheated.