Substitute a good quality wine for the cooking wine called for in recipes.
Q. For years, we used a Sauterne cooking wine for onion soup, chicken and many other dishes. Apparently it is no longer available. Can you recommend a white wine that does not have to be refrigerated and isn’t too expensive?
A. Cooking wines like Sauterne date to the days when wine wasn’t something the average consumer kept on hand. Names like Sauterne, Burgundy and Chablis were meant to sound European, but the wine wasn’t actually produced there. Wines labeled “cooking wine” usually contained preservatives, particularly salt, to make them shelf-stable after opening.
These days, the standard advice for cooking with wine is never to cook with something you wouldn’t drink. Since most of us wouldn’t want to drink salty wine, the old cooking wines are disappearing.
But for people who don’t commonly drink wine with meals, that leaves the problem of what to use in recipes that call for a small amount of wine. One handy solution is the miniature four-pack. Since a bottle is only 187ml, or about 3/4 cup, you don’t waste much, and the packs usually cost $7 or less.
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Since Sauterne was a sweeter wine, something like a white zinfandel or a riesling should be a good replacement.