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Need rules of thumb for cooking with wine

Hi all. I bought a bottle of white wine for one marinade recipe, and now I have a bottle of wine minus one cup. There's a bean soup on the horizon that will use a bit more, but I'm wondering if I can just splash some here and there as I go.

Are there ingredients that benefit from wine (like tomatoes) that I should look for? Ingredients that hate wine? And when should wine go in, early or late? And other questions I haven't thought of yet.

Related to hating wine: if I use wine should I not use vinegar?

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  1. I can't really think of any ingredients that hate wine. As a rule of thumb, if you're making a sauce, throw some in. My advice would be to do so at least early enough in the cooking, with at least 3 minutes to go, in order to cook it off a bit so it doesn't taste like raw, alcoholic wine.

    1. White wine can go in later than red. I tend to use it in tomato sauces for pasta but my most frequent use is for making a quick pan sauce after I've sauteed chicken, pork or fish. Only takes a minute and with some herbs and a knob of butter or splash of cream it's easy and tasty.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123

        +1 for this response. Also, I'm known for my risotto...definitely need a cup of relatively dry white in that.

      2. My trick is make a thick bean soup. Then bottom of each bowl 3-5 tablespoons of red wine plus some diced raw onion. Ladle the hot bean soup on top. Kind of a drunken bean soup.

        1. One thing I'll tell you is that wine doesn't keep forever particularly if it has been opened and has not been kept refrigerated.
          Other ways to use up wine is for cooking shellfish like mussels and clams. After cooking shellfish toss them with garlic, parsley, butter and some olive oil and spaghetti. Or use as your braising liquid for a thick pork chop.

          1. once opened, its shelf life is really only a few days. a week at most if tightly sealed in the fridge.

            you can also use it as a part of the liquid for a braise of lamb or pork.

            as to your last question wine has a much lower level of acidity than vinegar, but trust your taste buds to see if the dish needs more acid than the wine will offer.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I disagree. I've kept a bottle for a couple of weeks with no problem. You can also freeze it in an ice cube tray and use it later...that works for red or white. On a side note, I have a bottle of Prosecco that's been in the frig for 3 weeks, opened with a cork, and it's still got taste and fizz.

            2. Drink it? This doesn't seem too difficult to me :))

              1. Yes, Terrie. The first rule of thumb is don't cook with a wine that you wouldn't drink.

                1 Reply
                1. re: GH1618

                  You have to admit that you wanted to giggle at the OP - oh my, what do I do with leftover wine?! Not something we see a lot of on this website.... ;))

                2. How about Spaghetti al Vino Bianco -- see http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recip...

                  If you reduce the recipe to 0.75x you'd use up the rest of your bottle.

                  1. Maybe freeze it in ice cube trays and transfer to a ziplock or whatever to always have some to splash around when cooking.

                    1. Thanks everyone for the good advice and ideas. I'll know in the future that I can be pretty liberal with the leftovers. And Terrie will be glad to hear that I did indeed end up polishing off the bottle rather than let it go to waste. :D But at least I'll have a better-informed game plan for next time.

                      1. best rule of thumb re: cooking with wine? never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                          And never waste a good bottle of wine by cooking with it. Lower cost wines provide as much flavor and don't lose the nuances that people pay more for in wines that are going to be obliterated under high heat.

                        2. My general rule of thumb: 1/2 Cup for braises and marinades; 1 Cup for the cook.

                          1. One rule no one has mentioned, is to not use oaked wine. They introduce a harsh, bitter note to whatever you make. What most cooks are looking to do is to add a fresh, acid note to their dishes.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: slacker1

                              almost all reds are aged in oak. whites that have been aged properly in oak, whites that are balanced, are fine to use in cooking. yukky new world oak bombs? not fit for drinking or cooking.