It’s fine to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner on Phase 2, but what about also including wine as an ingredient in some of your dishes? A flavorful source of heart-healthy antioxidants (including resveratrol, found mainly in the skins of red grape varieties), wine is not only a lovely accompaniment to a meal, it’s also ideal for cooking. You’ll be happy to learn that wine is allowed as an ingredient on all Phases of the South Beach Diet and Gluten Solution Program because most of the alcohol evaporates during cooking. Both red and white wine are especially good in marinades (the wine helps tenderize the poultry or meat and allows you to cut back on the oil), for deglazing pans to make sauces, and for sautéing when it’s used with a little extra-virgin olive oil.
As a general rule, you should cook only with wines you enjoy drinking. So-called "cooking wines" are not recommended because they tend to have high sodium content (for extending shelf life). You don’t have to break the bank to find a good wine to cook with; any decent bottle of red or white will bring out the natural flavors of the food you’re preparing. Sauvignon blanc is a particularly good choice for dishes that lend themselves to white wine, since its structure and flavor hold up well under heat. Good cooking reds include cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
A Bottle of Red, a Bottle of White…
White wine is traditionally used in fish, shellfish, and poultry dishes. And it’s ideal for making sauces that have subtle flavors. Use red wine when you prepare lean beef and pork, duck breast, and game meats, as well as the richer sauces that complement them.
Making a wine-based sauce is easier than you think. First, “deglaze” the pan you’ve used for sautéing or roasting. To do this, add wine to the pan and scrape up any brown bits and seasonings clinging to the bottom. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is reduced by half. For extra flavor, add a little lower-sodium chicken, vegetable, or beef broth and continue to cook until the sauce has reached the desired consistency.
When you open a bottle of wine, the oxidation process begins once it comes into contact with oxygen — which can ruin the wine’s flavor if it is stored too long in the open state. If you have leftover wine, refrigerate the bottle, recorked or stoppered, and use it within a few days. Or pour the remaining wine into a smaller bottle, cork it, and store it in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that red wine oxidizes faster than white. Some people like to save leftover wine to make wine vinegar.