5 Top Tips for Cooking with Wine

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You’ve undoubtedly read the quote on kitchen magnets, cocktail napkins and aprons: I love cooking with wine…Sometimes I even add it to the food.

Some people attribute the quote to “French chef” Julia Child. (And that would be a good guess if you’ve ever seen her early, groundbreaking television cooking show. She sipped liberally as she prepared her Coq Au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon.) Others say it was uttered by the comedian and notorious imbiber W. C. Fields.

Cooking with Wine Presents Challenges

We can’t find definitive evidence of either personality using those words. But it really doesn’t matter. The sentiment is so descriptive of our own behavior in the kitchen. The sipping part comes naturally to us. Cooking with wine, though, has presented a few challenges over the years. Based on our vinous cooking experiences, we offer these few bits of advice about cooking with wine.

  • Wine intensifies salty flavors – so hold back on the salt shaker until you’ve had a chance to taste the food.
  • For recipes that call for milk, cream, eggs or butter, add the wine first to prevent curdling.
  • Reduce wine to boost its flavor. One cup of wine will reduce to ¼ cup when cooked uncovered for about 10 minutes.

And here’s our 2 cents on the choice of wine for cooking purposes:

  • Use a wine you’d want to drink. (You couldn’t follow in Julia’s footsteps if you did otherwise.) But don’t waste your money on an expensive wine.
  • Don’t, under any circumstances, use “cooking wine” from the supermarket! It contains lots of salt as a preservative…and it wasn’t very good wine even before the salt was added.

Wine makes cooking so much fun. And it helps with the cleanup too.


Barbara and Beverly