Substituting for wine or sherry

Ask the Chef

It's easy to find liquids that are alcohol-free but still taste right

May 12, 2002|By Jim Coleman and Candace Hagan | By Jim Coleman and Candace Hagan,Knight Ridder / Tribune

Q. For health reasons, I am unable to use wine in my cooking. I would like to try a recipe, but it calls for sherry wine and sherry vinegar. Can cooking sherry be substituted?

A. First and foremost, recipes that call for sherry or wine can be made with alcohol-free substitutions, so feel free to try any recipe. Don't ever use cooking sherry. It still has alcohol in it, but it is a much lower grade of sherry than the kind designed to drink. As far as substitutions go, there are a lot of different roads we can take -- like getting around construction and traffic. As long as they're headed in the right direction, they will work.

* For sherry, a nonalcoholic, sweet white wine would work. The fringe benefit is that these are normally cheaper than regular wine.

* Substituting chicken stock for wine is as old as dirt (not that anyone eats dirt), but it works very well.

* You can use apple juice with a touch of lemon juice instead of wine or sherry. The problem is having apple juice on hand when you need it. At my house, someone will have just finished it when I'm ready to cook.

When you need a substitute for sherry vinegar, other than simply using another vinegar instead, you can try white grape juice with a splash of cider vinegar.

Substituting another ingredient for sherry or wine is not hard to do. I did have a little trouble answering the person who asked me if there was a way to substitute tomatoes in marinara sauce.

Jim Coleman is executive chef at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, a cookbook author and host of television and radio cooking shows. Candace Hagan is a food writer and cookbook author.

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