Elevate The Flavor Of Dried Mushrooms With A Wine Soak

Dried mushroom in wooden bowl
Dried mushroom in wooden bowl - xiaoxiao9119/Shutterstock

A smart cook always has dried mushrooms on hand to give dishes a savory punch in minutes easily. If you've used dried mushrooms before, you're well-acquainted with how they quickly turn water into a delicious stock you can use in soups, stews, and more. To give the mushrooms some additional flavor we recommend soaking them in wine.

Dried mushrooms have a potent umami taste that will give your cooking wine a deep, earthy flavor. In turn, the savoriness of the fungi intermingles with the delicious notes from the wine, giving the mushrooms a slightly sweet taste with fruity or crisp nuances. Additionally, the tannins from the wine turn the mushrooms into tender, more delicate morsels. Whether you spring for a bodacious red or sharp white, the wine also benefits from a woodsy touch from the mushrooms.

When soaking dried mushrooms in wine, use just enough to cover the mushrooms. The hack works best with liquid warm enough to coax out the flavor from the mushrooms, so microwave the wine until it's hot. You can also heat it on the stovetop, but leave it for only a minute or two; otherwise, it'll turn into a reduction. Soak the mushrooms for 15 minutes, or until they've plumped up. Strain the wine, then add them to dishes to build a rich base. The stock and wine-infused mushrooms taste especially pleasant in French onion and mushroom soup, beef stew, or mushroom ragu.

Read more: What Happens If You Accidentally Eat Mold?

What Kind Of Wine Should You Soak Mushrooms In?

Glass of red, rosé, and white wine
Glass of red, rosé, and white wine - Jean-philippe Wallet/Getty Images

Choosing your favorite wine to sip on when making food is always a good tip you need when cooking with wine. On top of that, you can also opt for a wine that pairs well with what you're making. If you're whipping up some mushroom and roasted garlic risotto, mild, earthy cremini and oyster mushrooms are the perfect fit. For these varieties, we recommend an oaked Chardonnay. The wine is dry and more full-bodied than other white wines. With buttery notes of vanilla and butterscotch, the mushrooms will take on a sweeter touch without being completely overwhelmed.

Cremini mushrooms are also an excellent choice for salmon, as are shiitake mushrooms. The latter fungi are also earthy but with a smoky, buttery aftertaste. Either red or white wine works well when soaking the mushrooms for salmon, but rosé is a happy medium. A pinot noir rosé is dry and crisp, with bright flavors of strawberries, orange zest, and lemon that mesh well with salmon's natural sweetness and cuts through the earthiness of the mushrooms.

For a simple rabbit stew, portobello mushrooms provide a good amount of richness and merlot is a fitting wine to soak them in. The vino has touches of berries and vanilla with a hint of clove, infusing the mushrooms with a subtle spice. Merlot is a medium-bodied wine, a great pick for game like rabbit and portobello mushrooms, which have a deep, meaty flavor.

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