Wine and herb marinated chicken kebobs garnished with fresh oregano pair well with a simple yogurt sauce.

Wine and herb marinated chicken kebobs garnished with fresh oregano pair well with a simple yogurt sauce.

Wines enhance food by tenderizing and moisturizing while imparting unbeatable flavor.

Wine and herb marinated chicken kebobs garnished with fresh oregano pair well with a simple yogurt sauce.

Today I’m going to talk about wine. Now I’m not confessing to be an expert on wine 鈥 words like fruity, oaky and big are not terms I use on a daily basis but I do enjoy wine as a social drink and especially in cooking.


My only foray into making wine was dandelion wine a few years ago and it just about blew up in the garage. No more homemade wine making for me!

Cooking with wine

There’s something magical when you cook with wine. Wines enhance food by tenderizing and moisturizing while imparting unbeatable flavor. It’s not only about taste, although certainly the fruity and acidic aspects add nuances and spikes of flavor.


The alcohol in wine actually pulls flavors out and carries them into food. To see what I mean, add wine to a skillet that was used to saut茅 food. As you scrape up caramelized bits of food on the bottom, called deglazing, the wine goes to work, giving the finished sauce an incomparable flavor. If you added merely water, juice or broth to deglaze, they could not dissolve and pull flavors out the way the alcohol in wine does.

Dry or sweet?

I like dry wines because I don’t want a sweet wine to affect flavor. Use what you like to drink. Don’t use that nasty stuff in the bottle labeled “cooking wines,” which are loaded with salt and preservatives. They are usually on the same shelf as vinegars, and can be sold even on Sunday because the alcohol content is minute.


If you are deglazing add wine to skillet before you add anything else. Let it boil a bit to reduce acids and tannins. This is key to prevent curdling if you are adding dairy products.

Balancing act: pairing wines with food

Here’s where it can get confusing. Is it red with beef, white with poultry and seafood, champagne for the toast? To play it safe, try white wines with seafood and poultry and more assertive red wines with game and beef. But, hey, today just about anything goes. So it’s up to you.

Wine terms:

Dry: Wine that’s not sweet with no residual sugar.


Big: Rich, full-bodied, really flavorful and assertive.


Fruity: The aroma of fresh fruit should hit you here. And it’s not just grapes, but apples and berry aromas, too.


Oaky: The wine has a warm vanilla flavor and fragrance, coming from the fact that the wine has been aged in new oak barrels.

For more information about cooking with wine, check out my website Abouteating.com

Wine and herb marinated chicken

I cut up the chicken and put it in the marinade for kebobs. I threaded bell peppers and onions on the kebobs between the chicken. You can also leave the chicken whole.


Palmful parsley, chopped


2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped or a generous teaspoon dried


1?4 cup dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc


1?4 cup olive oil

1 nice lemon, juice and zest of


2 large garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons


1 tablespoon black olives, finely chopped (optional but good)


3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


Mix marinade ingredients and pour into large baggie. Add chicken and before sealing baggie, remove air by laying baggie on its side before sealing and smoothing out the air. Refrigerate for 2 hours or so. Reserve marinade. Grill on medium high, covered, about 7 minutes per side or until done, basting every few minutes with marinade. Serve with yogurt sauce if you like.

Yogurt sauce

No real recipe, but just stir together 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup sour cream, some chopped parsley, a teaspoon or so minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

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