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Braising without wine?

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I was thinking about giving braising a try and maybe adding the Molly Stevens cookbook along with an LC braiser to my Christmas list. The thing is, I hate wine in food. I'm not much of a wine drinker period, though I find drinking it to be tolerable on the rare occasion when I have a glass. However, I cannot stand the taste of wine it when used in cooking. I'll admit don't know much about braising, but my general impression is that most of the recipes call for wine to be used.

Typically when wine is called for in a recipe I will either omit or substitute with water and or chicken broth and it seems to work out fine. Is braising any different? Are the components in wine more important when it comes to braising? In braising, is the wine just used to deglaze or is it for something else?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Wine is used for flavor and sometimes to break the meat down but you can achieve the same thing using any liquid: water, stock, juice, pureed veggies, etc.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cherylptw

      there are certain flavor components that are not water-soluble, but they are alcohol-soluble.

      So yes, wine does serve a purpose (adding its own flavor profile, speeding the breakdown of tougher cuts, as well as unlocking the alcohol-soluble compounds) -- but it isn't necessary in any way.

    2. This is how we braised at one restaurant I worked at: 2 onions, 4 carrots, and half a bunch of celery, with water and salt. That is IT. For like 10-15# of meat. I don't believe that more mirepoix in the braising liquid makes much difference in the flavor of the meat. The most important thing in terms of flavor is how much salt is in the liquid.

      Of course, at another restaurant, we fill a 22 qt Cambro with mirepoix for 20-30# of meat...