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Marinating Food With Red Wine- A Comprehensive Guide
David and Charlotte Regan  |  February 13, 2024

Like many others, you may prefer sipping a glass of red wine with diverse fruity and floral flavors to complete a meal but did you know it also works as an excellent marinating condiment? Yes, you can very well use red wine instead of synthetic vinegar and other widely used condiments for marinating veggies and meat. You may use this wine to infuse the dishes with rich, complex flavors. However, consider the type of food you are making and choose a red wine type accordingly for the best result.

Ingredients you can use with red wine for marinade

Along with red wine, you can pick the following ingredients for marinade:

  • Herbs like oregano and thyme
  • Garlic
  • citrus juice
  • Salt and pepper

There is nothing wrong with mixing and matching red wine with these condiments to add new flavors to the dishes you cook. However, remember that wine itself is acidic and so you may avoid mixing excess lemon juice or acidic condiments with it.

Tips for marinating food with red wine

  • Marinate for a long time- It makes sense to marinate meat or veggies that you will cook with red wine for a couple of hours or more. The longer you soak, more pronounced the flavors emerge. To cook meat like lamb and beef, the ideal marinating duration is 4-5 hours and you can also opt for overnight marinade. Wine marinade helps keep meat tender while cooking. However, to make fish marinade, an hour should be adequate.
  • Choose the right container- It is better that you opt for a non-reactive container to marinate your ingredients with red wine. Ideally, you can go for a glass or plastic bowl. Red wine can interact with metal containers and its acidity can interact with specific metals, impacting the food’s flavor.
  • Choose the right red wine- Red wines come in so many flavors nowadays and you have to pick the fitting variant for marinating food. It also depends on the type of dish you will make. In general, you can avoid using heavily oaked and overly tannic wines. Instead, go for medium-bodied red wine types such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is also a good option here.
  • Discard used red wine for marinade- Wine and food experts recommend not to reuse red wine marinade. You should ideally just discard any leftover marinade. This helps avoid the risk of food cross-contamination. Or, you can boil the leftover marinade and make a sauce for use with the dish.
  • Choose a wine you like- It would be good not to use those cooking wines, found in abundance in supermarkets and stores these days. These cheap wines are laden with too much artificial flavouring and salt. So, just go for a regular red wine type that you drink often. Seek the assistance of wine connoisseurs and cooks if you can.

 Summing it up

Using red wine to marinate meat, fish and veggies is a good decision. This helps make dishes more delicious and full of flavors. Just ensure you pick suitable types of red wine and marinate foods for the right duration. To keep things manageable, begin by marinating a small amount of food initially.


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