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Recipes with red wine

24/08/2022 Breaking news , Winemaking

We all know that wine is the best companion for food, but we also need to remember that it makes an excellent ingredient too. We can use wine to macerate, caramelise and bring together dishes in a way that makes it not just another ingredient. Red wines, because of the wide variety of styles and characteristics, provide a huge amount of options in the kitchen, not just for making sauces, but also for enhancing flavours and deepening the colour and aroma of our dishes.

So let’s talk about how to get the best out of a red wine in the kitchen.

Which red wine should you choose?

Red wines labelled “cooking wines” are sold in shops and supermarkets, however, to get better results in your dishes, we would recommend buying a red wine that you would be able to drink a glass of. By which we mean: a wine with some quality. Use your common sense and choose a wine that will add good characteristics to your dishes. Remember that if you would use good ingredients, why wouldn’t you choose a good red wine.

For rice, fish, poultry, white meats and vegetables

White wines are the ones most commonly used to enhance flavours when making fish, poultry, white meats and rice dishes, like risotto. When it comes to choosing the right wine, the key is to think about how delicate the food you are cooking is, so young and light red wines could also be a good choice. Pay attention to the recipe and, most importantly, to the quantities, because it using just a touch of wine to perfume a dish is not the same as using a larger quantity to enhance a stew.

Young reds work well with octopus, cuttlefish or squid dishes. They also work with swordfish, bonito and tuna as well as being good companions when it comes to making vegetables, pasta or rice.

Pinot Noir wines are perfect for poultry and pork dishes. They are also good companions for rabbit meat.

For beef, lamb and small game

Beef, lamb and small game can benefit from the properties of young or aged red wines. The woody notes of wines that have been aged in oak help to enhance red meat and small game stews. For example, wines made with the Merlot variety offer fruity notes and Syrah variety red wines offer delicious power and colour.

For big game meats

Powerful stews need more complex wines, so reserve red wines are the best choice for cooking big game meats like wild boar, deer or roe deer. As well as enhancing their flavours, wine helps to tenderise meats. Reserve red wines provide spicy characteristics, enhance and bring out the colour of sauces and meats. As well as that, in this and other cases, serving the dish with the wine you cooked with is a perfect pairing (hence the importance of choosing the wine you will use for cooking well).

For desserts and reductions

Sweet wines, ones that are very fruity or contain residual sugar, are perfect ingredients for desserts, like the famous pears in red wine. The ideal ingredient for this is a red wine that has undergone carbonic maceration (very fruity). Sweet wines add thickness and a sweet note to sauces. When used to baste meats during roasting, they bring their juiciness and give a nice colour.

Most common mistakes when cooking with wine

As we have already mentioned, one of the most common mistakes is to choose a “cheap wine” thinking that it is not worth spending a bit more, because it will be used for cooking. As well as quality, it is important to bear in mind that when choosing the wine, you should think about the one that best matches the production process. It should also be a wine that you have tasted before and that you like, as it will bring a particular personality to the dish.

Another common mistake is to use what we have at home without taking into account what each recipe calls for. For example, if you want to cook the famous bœuf bourguignon stew, you must use the wine listed in the recipe (a Burgundy wine) or it won’t be the dish you meant to make. Creativity is a good thing, but it must be used wisely.

Not being careful with cooking times is another common mistake. Stews that require a larger quantity of wine also need a slower and longer cooking time so that the wine can evaporate all (or most) of its alcohol and so that it doesn’t have a negative effect on dish.

And, speaking of quantities, wine is not something that can be added at will, because instead of enhancing the flavours of our dish, it could damage them.

By now you must be salivating just like us, so we would encourage you to put these tips into practice so that your recipes with red wine are worthy of a three Michelin Star restaurant. Why not give it a try?

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