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Cooking With Wine Is a Fun Challenge

November 09, 1989|NANCY BYAL | BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS MAGAZINE

Add a little wine to an ordinary dish, and voila. You've gone gourmet. You can substitute wine for some of the broth, water or liquid in a stew, soup or meat sauce. To start, here are answers to some common questions about cooking with wine.

Question: Is an inexpensive table wine good enough for cooking?

Answer: Yes. If you like the flavor, you'll probably be happy cooking with the wine. But don't use an inferior wine just because it's inexpensive. Most of the alcohol evaporates during cooking, so flavor becomes concentrated. If a wine has an inferior flavor to begin with, it's unlikely you'll be pleased with the result.

Q: Can I cook with the same wine I drink?

A: Certainly. But don't dump a great vintage wine into a stew.

Q: Can I use a partly consumed bottle of wine for cooking?

A: Yes. Re-cork and refrigerate a leftover red or white wine and use it within two days. To store for one to two weeks, refrigerate the wine in a small container with minimum head space so the wine is not exposed to air. For longer storage, freeze wine in a small freezer-proof container allowing enough room for the liquid to expand in freezing.

Q: How many calories does wine add to the dish?

A: The calories in wine are from the alcohol. Because the alcohol evaporates during cooking, wine adds no calories to the finished food.

Q: May I substitute any white wine if a specific white wine is called for?

A: You can substitute any dry white wine for a Chardonnay or Chablis--even a good-quality generic white table wine. Because wine changes during the cooking process, small differences aren't apparent. But don't substitute a sweet wine for a dry one.

Q: May I substitute any red wine if a specific red wine is called for?

A: Most reds may be substituted for one other. Just don't replace a wine such as a red Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon with something as different in character as, for example, Port.

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