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Beginner’s Guide To Cooking With Red Wine

Cooking with red wine may seem like a daunting prospect for some, but it really is not very complicated.  Once you learn the basics of using wines in your cooking, you will wonder what took you so long to get around to it.  Cooking with wines will add a wonderful aroma to the dishes you cook as well as enhancing their flavor.  The tastes become more complex and richer, and it is actually quite easy to experiment with.  Red wines can replace beef, vegetable or even chicken broth in many of your favorite recipes.

Begin with Something Easy
One of the easiest ways to use red wines in cooking is to add it to spaghetti sauces that are either beef or vegetable based.  You might try adding as little as 1/3 cup to your red sauce.  Red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon traditionally go quite well with red meats such as beef, so you know you are following all traditional rules.  In addition, because the spaghetti sauce is already red, the color of the wine you are adding will not affect the color of the sauce.  Many chefs enjoy using red wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Shiraz.
 
Try Deglazing
As a method of beginning to use wines in cooking, many chefs use the technique of deglazing.  This is where you cook the meat and then remove it from the pan.  You pour in your liquid, in this case one of the red wines you have selected, and use it to gently scrape the bottom of the pan and get the little bits of meat off while you keep it all heated on your stove.  The liquid evaporates as it cooks so you can decide how thick or how thin your sauce will be.  Many chefs like this type of sauce over meat of vegetables.  In addition, you won’t have to soak and scrub your pan after dinner.
 
Crock Pot or Slow Cooker
When you cook meat or a meal in a slow cooker, you know that you usually need to add liquid along the way.  Adding wines is a great way to improve the richness and flavors of foods cooked this way.  For instance, if you are cooking a beef roast or stew, you just can’t go wrong.
 
Branch Out and Explore
After getting used to using red wines in some of these basic dishes, you will be ready to branch out and explore new tastes and dishes.  There are many recipes available in books and online.  For instance, you can try appetizers, soups, pastas, main dishes, and even desserts that use different wines in their preparation.  It is important to realize that too much is simply too much.  In other words, you don’t want every dish in your meal prepared with wines because then nothing is truly special.  Carefully select those foods that will be enhanced and leave the others on their own.
 
Cooking with red wine can be fun and delicious.  Remember to only cook with wines that you are willing to drink, because if you don’t like to drink it, you won’t like what it adds to your foods.  Avoid cooking wines because they often contain an excess of salt and preservatives.  The best way to begin cooking with wine is just to do it.


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