Cooking with wine is the best way to drink your wine and eat it for dinner, too. Wine can not only add flavor to your dishes — it also can help replace the fat found in oils and butters when properly substituted. Whether you’re cooking it with fish, enlisting it in a marinade, or simply adding it to your skillet to help your food simmer, it’s safe to say you can easily see the benefits of cooking with wine. The secret is knowing what recipes to use it in. Check out these 7 food formulas that flawlessly employ wine to enhance the flavor and moisture of the dishes they yield. Pour yourself a glass of the good stuff, and get to work on one of these classy recipes.
1. Salmon with Red Wine Sauce
When people think of cooking with wine, a white usually comes to mind. Not this time. This recipe from Food & Wine calls for a full-bodied red wine that will be the star ingredient of a rich sauce. The red wine sauce dresses a salmon steak that is cooked in the oven for just 8 minutes, and then it’s time to plate the good stuff and pour over the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 4 salmon steaks, about 1-inch thick (about 2 pounds total)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 scallions, bulbs and green tops chopped separately
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Directions: Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the oil in a small stainless-steel, enameled, or nonstick roasting pan, and heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Season the fish with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Put the fish in the hot pan; cook in the oven until just done, about 8 minutes.
Remove the fish from the pan, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off any oil remaining in the pan. Put the pan over moderate heat, and add the wine and the chopped scallion bulbs. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits. Cook until the wine is reduced to approximately 3 tablespoons, 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, and whisk in the butter. Season the sauce with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Put the fish on plates, browned-side up. Sprinkle the scallion greens over the top. Spoon the sauce around the fish.
2. Coq Au Vin
Most consumers have heard of the classic French dish that is Coq Au Vin, but not as many have cooked it at home. Surprisingly, the elegant dish is simple to make homemade and this recipe from Saveur proves it. As long as you have the right ingredients, you’re good to go, and it’s also important to plan ahead, as this chicken will sit in a winey marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight. Grab your chicken, red wine, butter, and mushrooms, and get to cooking.
- 4 cups red wine
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 bouquet garni (12 sprigs thyme, 5 sprigs parsley, and 3 bay leaves tied together with kitchen twine)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 ounces peeled pearl onions
- 12 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
- 10 ounces bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Finely chopped parsley leaves, to garnish
Directions: Combine wine, chicken, yellow onion, and bouquet garni in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain chicken, onions, and bouquet garni, reserving wine, and set aside. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels.
Heat oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pearl onions, and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add mushrooms to pot, and cook, stirring, until they release all their moisture and brown lightly, about 8 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pearl onions; set aside. Add bacon to pot, and cook, stirring, until it renders its fat and is crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot, and then season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to pot; cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and set aside. Add drained yellow onions to pot, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved wine and stock, and then return chicken to pot along with bouquet garni; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Tomato-Based White Wine Fish Soup
A soul-soothing dish that enlists white wine rather than red is this Tomato-Based White Wine Fish Soup from Cooking Light. Its star ingredients include a tomato-and-white-wine base, chopped vegetables, shrimp, scallops, and halibut. The seafood soup is the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold night, and it also comes together in no time. All made within one Dutch oven, you can easily whip up this soup and serve it with a hearty piece of bread.
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
- 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
- ½ pound peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped
- ½ pound sea scallops
- ½ pound skinless halibut fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Thyme sprigs
Directions: Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomato paste to pan; cook 7 minutes or until paste begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add fennel and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Stir in shrimp, scallops, and fish. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until fish is done. Gently stir in tarragon, chopped thyme, and pepper. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.
4. Red Wine Beef Stew
This one-pot meal, featured on Epicurious, is packed with potatoes, carrots, and beef, and it only requires 30 minutes of active time. Prepare this when you’re craving comfort food, and make sure you plan ahead as the stew takes 3 hours to cook. Eat it for a Sunday dinner, and then enjoy the leftovers all week, especially because this stew tastes best the day after it is made.
- 4 pounds chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Syrah
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 10 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1½ pounds baby white or red potatoes, halved
Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Season the meat with salt and pepper, place in a large bowl, and toss with the flour.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or wide-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Cook the meat, in batches, until well browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes, transferring the pieces to a plate as they are browned. Pour off and discard any drippings from the pot.
Add the tomato paste, wine, broth, onion, bay leaves, thyme, and 2 of the carrots, and bring to a boil. Return the meat and any juices back to the pot, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours.
Using tongs, remove and discard the cooked vegetables. Add the potatoes and the remaining 8 carrots to the pot, cover, and return to the oven. Cook until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender, about 1 hour more.
5. Winter Vegetable Pasta with White Wine and Parmesan
A vegetarian meal that enlists wine is this winter vegetable pasta from The Scrumptious Pumpkin. It’s a different kind of meat-free comfort food but also one that promises to hit the spot thanks to linguine, Parmesan cheese, and butternut squash. It’s less time-intensive than the aforementioned recipe on our list and can be made in all of 30 minutes. Wine is reduced in this one-pot meal to add flavor and moisture to the dish, and a healthy amount of Parmesan cheese kicks up the flavor, too.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 7-ounce package pre-cut butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ⅓ pound young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 ounces whole wheat linguine
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Boil a large pot of water. Salt the water, and add the linguine. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot, garlic, squash, and carrots, and cook until vegetables soften, about 7 minutes. Add the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add the kale, and cook until kale wilts down, about 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook for another 5 minutes, allowing it to reduce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cooked fettuccini, about ¼ cup of the water the pasta cooked in, and ⅔ cup Parmesan. Stir to combine.
Transfer to serving plates, top with remaining Parmesan, and serve.
6. Mussels in White Wine Sauce
If you’re feeling ambitious, try making some mussels at home. The classic French dish doesn’t only come out of restaurant kitchens — it can easily be served out of yours, too. Follow this formula for mussels in white wine sauce found on Simply Recipes, and see what we mean. The tutorial is fool-proof, and once you have your mussels, you’re good to go. Aside from the shellfish, the rich white wine sauce is the star of the show, and when the white wine is combined with butter, shallots, and garlic, you’re going to want to drink it with a spoon. Instead, soak it up with thick, crusty bread.
- 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed clean under running water
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons flour
- ¼ cup minced parsley
Directions: Put the mussels in a bowl of salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. Throw out any that are wide open or refuse to close when you handle them as these ones are likely dead. Looking over the closed mussels, see if any still have their beards and pull them out, pulling slowly and strongly toward the hinge of the shell.
Put ½ cup of dry white wine in the bottom of a large pot. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. As the mussels cook, they will release their highly flavored water into the pot. Cook until shells have opened, and the mussels are just cooked, looking steamed and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Take care not to overcook, or the mussels will be rubbery and hard. Once the mussels are cooked, carefully remove them from the pot to a bowl, one-by-one using tongs, including those that have broken loose from their shells. Do not discard the water in the pot.
Let the water in the pot settle for a minute. Any grit will settle to the bottom. Gently pour out the cooking water into a measuring cup, leaving the grit in the pot to discard later. If the water you’ve measured out is still a little gritty, filter out the grit using a sieve.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the shallots, and cook a couple minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, and cook a minute more. If you want your sauce to be a little thick, add a teaspoon or 2 of flour to the pan, stir to combine. Slowly add about a cup of the filtered mussel cooking water to the saucepan, stirring to create a smooth sauce. Add the minced parsley to the sauce.
Place mussels in serving bowls. Pour some sauce over each bowl of mussels. Serve immediately. Serve with crusty bread for dipping in the sauce.
7. Chicken and Artichokes in White Wine Sauce
A white wine sauce also performs well in this last dinner, featured on The Kitchn. Artichokes are a simple addition you can easily make to a chicken dish to make it feel fancy, and the employment of white wine helps, too. This dish is thick and creamy, yet it’s made sans cream. The white wine keeps the dish moist and flavorful, and while the recipe serves 4, this is one dinner you’re going to want to keep all to yourself.
- 2 cups artichoke hearts, frozen and thawed, or canned and drained
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound
- 1½ cups flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups dry yet mellow white wine, such as Chardonnay
- ½ lemon
- Flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Directions: Cut the artichoke hearts in half lengthwise. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, about 1 inch to a side. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with about 1 teaspoon salt and a generous quantity of black pepper. Toss the chicken pieces in the flour.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the artichokes. Cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned on each side. Remove the artichokes from the skillet, and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet along with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Lift the chicken pieces out of the flour, and arrange in the skillet. Sauté the chicken pieces for 5 to 7 minutes or until well-browned on both sides. Add the browned artichokes back to the pan.
Pour in the white wine and, and stir and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, and let it simmer for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat. The sauce will thicken. Stir well to coat everything with the wine sauce. Stir in a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice.
Serve with pasta or couscous. Garnish, if desired, with finely chopped parsley.