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cooking wine

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm a "cook at home" and I often get some resistance when I want to cook with wine. in response I often wonder how often we eat meals at restaurants that contain cooking (or other) wine or whatever. Is wine used a lot in a professional kitchen? And for what kinds of dishes? Does the alcohol cook out?
post #2 of 4
If they don't want wine, don't force it on them. You might choose wine based dishes while eating out and offer tastes and smells to introduce them to food cooked with wine. Familiarize them with some of the classic dishes.

As to what restaurants cook with wine, that depends on the cuisine and type of restaurant. Italian, French and Chinese cuisine use alcohol frequently though not necessarily in large quantities. Some cuisines where cooking with alcohol is less, um, Mexican, Indian, lots of the middle east/arab cuisines eschew alcohol.

Cooking with wine is certainly on the upswing in my opinion as a food trend. Not that it's new or going to go away.

Technically, no the alcohol does not all cook out. The hotter it's cooked and the more time elapses before eating, the less alcohol remains. However, we're talking small quantities to the point where saying the alcohol cooks out is more right than wrong. Even bread contains alcohol as it's a natural by product of yeast. Again, small amounts.

I don't drink alcohol for a number of reasons. I rarely cook with wine in the European tradition as I just don't have it around. I DO think it improves Italian and Chinese food quite a bit. French probably too, but I don't cook French much. I cook enough Chinese food that I keep some ShaoHsing rice wine on hand.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Yeah I'm not one who drinks wine and obviously the family isn't either. The point about the bread is also something that got me thinking more since I bake bread fairly often and will let the dough ferment for up to a couple days, and then of course there is sourdough.

We eat a lot of Italian food and are getting ready to cook more french, we eat chinese sparingly. I just received a really good(at least reportedly) french onion soup recipe that calls for a little wine. For the most part it's my curiosity regarding how the dish was meant to taste. And at the end of the day if I was looking for a buzz I wouldn't want to eat a whole pot of soup to get there;) And I definately don't want to force alcohol on them.

In your opinion what would a substitute wine with in a recipe. white, red, etc.

thanks all the same for the info.

as a side note:
my wife's maiden name is Hatch and has some Mormon pioneers in her ancestry. She says that most people in Utah last name Hatch are related to her some how. just a little chunk of perhaps useless info, but hey you never know.
post #4 of 4
Yes, most of the Hatches out here do have a common ancestor. Though I'm not from Utah and neither is my dad. Still, it is quite possible we're distantly related.

Wine can add quite a bit to a dish. As to substitutes the first thing to understand, IMO, is that there are dishes where no substitution is possible.

The wine/alcohol is the key flavor for the dish. Veal/chicken Marsala is a dish where you can't substitute for example.

Wine reduction sauces don't generally work with substitutes.

You can buy de-alcoholized wine and they work well though you don't have a broad selection. Still, you can get a lot of the right flavors for basic red and white wine cooking.

Substitution in desserts is very tricky, often not possible, and I can't guide you there.

Many savory dishes can be made satisfactorily without wine. This is not to say they taste identical to the same dish made with wine but are good in their own right.

When you substitute for wine you have to choose your substitution based on these principles:

Volume: If you're adding more than a splash/couple tablespoons into a sauce or marinade, you probably need to replace the missing liquid so the dish cooks properly to a similar consistency. In many dishes, chicken stock is a sufficient replacement.

Texture: Wine thickens as it reduces. Stock usually is sufficient in this department, but you may need to work with other texture elements, maybe a bit of flour or cornstarch or a sugar/honey if sweetness is also part of the final flavor.

Taste: Wine brings some sweetness, acidity and other flavors to a dish.

Acidity is often replicated with a LITTLE (or combination) of the following: lemon juice, verjus, vinegar of the same type as the alcohol (wine, sherry, champagne...)

Fruity flavors come from fruit juices. DO NOT use equal amounts of fruit juice to wine as it will be too sweet. But apple and white and purple grape juices are useful in small amounts. Some of the cranberry juices/cocktails are useful too.

Floral tones are usually ignored but a drop of rosewater might prove useful.

Tannins are generally ignored in substitution.

My basic wine substitition is a splash of apple juice for fruity sweetness, some stock for body and most of the liquid and a squeeze of lemon at the end for acidity and fruitiness.

For red wines, I substitute as above except for some balsamic or a good red wine vinegar instead of the lemon juice.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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