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Reduce wine or not?

I watched one season of America's Test Kitchen a while back and they consistently said to reduce wine before adding to a dish, such as a stew, even if they ended up adding aditional water. i think the theory was to remove some of the alcahol before incorporating in dish but this seemed overly fussy and counter most recipes I see both hear and elsewhere. I wonder about opinions on this. Wothwhile effort: always? sometimes? never?

asked by caninechef almost 2 years ago
8 answers 751 views
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Monita

Monita is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added almost 2 years ago

It really depends on the recipe/how much wine. You want the wine flavor. but if it's too much then the alcohol does overpower. One approach is to pour in 1/2 the wine and reduce while scraping bottom of pan if it was used for browning meat or sauteing other ingredients. Then add a bit more wine, that;s not reduced, for flavoring. That's what I do for a beef stew

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

I think that's overly fussy. Either way, the alcohol will only reduce so much. All of it will never be gone. The liquid will reduce while whatever it is simmers. Have you ever made risotto? The wine is the first addition you make to the rice in the pan, and reduce it until it is gone. The flavor and a bit of alcohol remain.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

I think it depends. I prefer to reduce wine  first rather than adding it to a recipe. This method works especially well if you are using it to deglaze a pan. I also feel it's a better method to get rid of the alcohol flavor. I actually can't think of a recipe that calls for adding water after reducing the wine, but maybe I need more coffee. Broth, stock or tomatoes yes.

4a133dad 72d1 43e3 84bb a8b5e6921f22  jesse avatar
added almost 2 years ago

Depends on what you are cooking and what effect you want to end up with. If you are reducing the wine a lot, you will need a lot of heat for a long time, but many dishes work best with a long slow simmer, which would be my guess for why ATK does this. When I do this, and I like the taste of wine, I add a splash of fresh wine at the end to brighten up the flavor.

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added almost 2 years ago

It depends, if you are adding the wine at the end of cooking .. example for finishing a sauce not a bad idea to reduce to get rid of the alcohol but if you are adding to something that has time to cook alcohol off (say a casserole) do not reduce

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

Curious why so many posters think it takes a long time to cook the alcohol off? Many recipes call for flambéing it either before adding, or immediately afterwards. That burns off whatever is leaving at once.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

Actually, a quick flambe only burns off 25% of the alcohol. It is done more for show and to create a deeper flavor in the other ingredients because of the high flash of heat. Simmering for an hour removes 75% of the alcohol and simmering for two hours removes 90%. When you reduce the alcohol alone without other liquids, it happens much faster.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 2 years ago

I recently made the Tuscan Beef Stew on the Cooks Illustrated site, which involves adding wine to the braising liquid, and then adding more wine after removing the beef once it's braised. Utterly delicious, and no cooking down necessary. (I occasionally cook down wine for specific purposes, but never in a soup or a stew.) I do think that adding some (lots) at the beginning and some toward the end is an excellent idea. The recipe I made called for a whole bottle of Chianti for 4 pounds of meat. One of the best beef stews I've ever made. As good as, if not better than, any Beef Burgundy recipe out there. ;o)