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marsala wine

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have an Italian recipe for Sausage with peppers & onions that calls for 1 cup of Marsala wine in the sauce. What can I substitute for Marsala if we don't drink wine or I can't find it in the store?

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post #2 of 12
In your particular case, where you may not indulge in wines and will probably wish to find a suitable wine easily and inexspensively, I suggest a Burgandy as replacement. A deep, robust, red with smoky flavor.

Good luck,
post #3 of 12
New wife,

Marsala wines, in general are much like a good sherry. Loaded with alcohol (they are fortified wines) they ofter add a bit of sweetness to dishes that use them in the recipe, once you have burned off all that alcohol.

Another good option, thought not to style would be to use a Pinot Noir from California. They also tend to add some sweetness to dishes cooked with them and can be found for 5 to 7 dollars all along the West Coast. If that doesn't fit your budget then there is always Charles Shaw wines, at around 2 dollars a bottle.

Best of luck to you!
"A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine"
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste (1825)
Food blog of chef Robert Conaway
"A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine"
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste (1825)
Food blog of chef Robert Conaway
post #4 of 12
You should be able to find inexpensive marsala, madiera, or sherry at most grocery stores and any of those would work fine. Another option could be half brandy/half water. Yet another option, avoiding alcohol altogether would be to use chicken stock.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #5 of 12

Other options

Also try:
Leftover any-wine
Wine plus a little sugar...

post #6 of 12
As others have said Marsala is a very sweet dessert style wine. So, go ahead and buy a bottle. Use it when it's called for and keep it in a dark place when it's not. It'll last a long, long time.
post #7 of 12
Don't know where you reside, but if in the US look for a Trader Joe's. They have a good Marsala for about five dollars. Any wine store will also, but probably for 2 to 3 times more. Probably good markets will stock it also. I buy it all the time for cooking. Because it is fortified, it will keep a long time like a Port, Vermouth, etc.
You can find lots of dishes to use it in.

post #8 of 12
I'd probably use a good port wine as a substitute in the recipe you describe. However, if you're not serving this to your husband's boss and are open to experimentation, try a puree of cooked prunes or figs that has been processed through a fine seive or cheesecloth.
post #9 of 12

I have the same question you do.   What can I substitute for wine in a recipe when I don't drink wine?   I get a headache from the sulfites, from chocolate, from cheese, and from MSG.


So I don't want another wine, just something to better the taste.  Up until now, I just skip recipes that call for wine.



Please, doesn't anyone have a suggestion?


Thank you.

post #10 of 12

That is interesting.  Thanks.​

post #11 of 12

Marsala is often used in Sicilian recipes to make wonderfully flavored dishes with a hint of sweetness. Marsala is available in many styles, from dry to sweet, and the very aged offerings command some significant prices. I read some suggestions that replacing the Marsala with Port, burgundy, pinot would yield favorable results. I am here to say that the results would not be the same. Madeira perhaps with a Cream Sherry added may be closer substitute. For a magnificent recipe, use a magnificent Marsala. The longer this wine ages the more it costs. For cooking, do not buy a Marsala aged 20 years it is not affordable.


My favorite use is to make Veal Marsala.

post #12 of 12

If you anticipate making a recipe that calls for Marsala wine, you can make a mushroom flavored base ahead of time.   No matter what, you are never really going to replace the flavor effect created by actual Marsala wine.  But, you can achieve a bit of the aromatic "mushroomy" effect of the Marsala.


Simply take some mushrooms of your choosing, any will do nicely, and boil them gently in some water or vegetable stock.  You will need about 1/2 lb of mushrooms for every 4 cups of water.  The stronger the mushroom, the better this works. 


Bring the mushroom mixture to a gentle boil and keep boiling until the liquid turns brown and has reduced to about half its volume.  Strain the liquid and return the mushrooms to the pan and add more water or broth.  Repeat and add more mushrooms as the older ones break down. 


In effect, you are making mushroom tea. 


This liquid can be canned and stored for up to 6-8 months.   


For a more intense mushroom flavor, allow the water to reduce even further. 



"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
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