I'm cooking for a friend, a friend who is many years sober, and I would like to find a substitution for white wine. The wine (maybe a quarter cup) is not a main player in the recipe. It is used to deglaze and create a pan sauce. Any help would be appreciated.
use good stock or broth, and maybe a splash of citrus or vinegar depending on the other flavors in the dish - it'll be absolutely fine.
How about a juice such as apple that isn't a strong flavored one, apricot could also work well, others also, depending on what the dish is, so orange, blueberry etc could work if it won't over power.
Sometimes you can get a dry apple juice that's bubbly and not really sweet. We got that at Costco for our Muslim guests to have at dinner when they visited.
As a sober person, I thank you for the consideration you are showing your friend. Many good suggestions already. Have you considered a non-alcoholic wine? (Real wine is made, the alcohol is extracted from the wine through one of several processes, and then the pulp is reconstituted, usually with something like fruit juice. It contains trace amounts of alcohol, but not enough to be intoxicating, especially if it is being cooked.) While such wines are usually poor substitutes for regular drinking, they might provide enough of an accurate flavor for your sauce, and they are generally inexpensive. (Similarly, I find non-alcoholic beer to be a decent substitute in a loaf of beer bread.) UNLESS you are trying to avoid the wine flavor itself as something potentially triggering, in which case I'd recommend the other suggestions (plain juices, or stock-with-a-splash).
Now you've got me wondering what else might work as a liquid to deglaze the pan, yet still give a piquant flavor to the sauce. A flavored tea maybe? Hmm, this could invite some fun experimenting. :-)
I had the same issue last night and I just substituted 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup water for 3/4 cup white wine (in a fairly involved spicy tomato sauce so maybe more forgiving than your recipe?) and it was fine. If you tell us what you're making I'm sure people will have more thoughts for you.