In some of our recipes, we recommend adding wine to the pan after baking your ingredients in it. We didn’t explain why every time, as that would make the recipes unnecessarily long. However, we don’t want you to blindly follow what we do, we want you to understand why we add wine to the pan after baking these ingredients. Wine adds more flavour to some dishes, but you can also use other drinks in your cooking. You will only get better at cooking by understanding what you’re doing and why.
So first off, why wine?
Well, wine contains alcohol and that alcohol makes it easier for the wine to absorb and carry the leftover taste in the pan. Of course, you could use almost any form of liquid in theory and it’s good to vary here too; sometimes water might be what you need to make a natural broth and sometimes you’re better off picking beer or sake, the possibilities are endless!
How do you know what kind of wine you’ll want to use when?
That depends on what you’re making and on your own taste as well. To make it simple though, start with the basics and take it from there.
You’ll usually want to use red wine on heavier/darker dishes. With that, I mean meaty dishes like stew, lasagna, and red curry for example; these types of dishes tend to go well with most red wines.
For risotto and fish(-sauce) you might want to use white wine for example as that’s usually a lot lighter.
Why should you bother to take this step at all? Is it really that important?
While the importance of this step is negotiable the effect is not. This step can generate so much more depth and flavour in your dishes that it’s not even funny! The flavour that gets left behind in the pan can be quite incredible, especially so when you work with spices or herbs inside the pan or tomatoes, meat, or even potatoes. I could continue for a while with that list but let us end things here: Yes it can be a very important step, how important differentiates per dish though.