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adding red wine to a beef stewCooking with wine began with the Greeks and Romans. Wine was also a popular ingredient in medieval recipes.

Cooking with wine remained a favorite practice well into the 17th century, especially in England, where it was thereafter merrily transported to Colonial America.

Today, cooking with wine is an easy way to add a 'kick' to otherwise ordinary, everyday dishes and adds a nuanced, sophisticated flavor that's difficult to arrive at by just adding a favorite herb or spice.

Adding white wine to any chicken or fish dish help to keep it moist while cooking. Red wine also brings out the flavor in meat dishes, and is a common ingredient in marinades.

Fortified wines like port and marsala make excellent sauces and reductions (also see this recipe for easy chicken marsala.)

Wine sauces for chicken, lamb or beef basically begin with stock to which wine has been added and cooked down, as in this recipe for a simple red wine reduction for prime rib:

port reduction
Filet mignon in a rich
port reduction sauce.

Easy Wine Reduction


Olive oil or butter
1/4 cup minced shallots or onions
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs and spices to taste


1. Add enough butter or olive oil to coat a saute pan over medium heat.
2. Add shallots or onion and cook until soft and translucent.
3. Add the wine and the stock and heat the mixture until reduced by half.
4. Add the butter, salt and pepper, and herbs and spices to taste.
(Get creative and experiment with different flavors such as adding minced garlic, rosemary, sage or thyme to the mixture to really enhance the flavor.)

As food author Morrison Wood once famously said, "It is, of course, entirely possible to cook without using wine. It is also possible to wear suits and dresses made out of gunny sacks, but who wants to?"

n fact, any dish you're making -- even salad dressing like Zinfandel vinaigrette -- will probably benefit from a splash of wine. For desserts, certain cakes include sherry as an ingredient that adds a heady flavor while helping to lighten its texture.

For more information on cooking with wine, check out expert guides on the subject featuring recipes and complete instructions for traditional recipes, along with novel and surprising ways to cook with wine...

More about cooking with wine around the Web:

Cooking with Wine - This is an excellent guide to making sauces and reductions, with Q&A, wine pairing information, and related recipes.

Cooking with Wine - - Here's a great collection of visitor-submitted recipes organized by Newest and Most Popular, with star-rated reviews and related cooking and wine pairing tips.

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