Why am I rambling about all this? To get to my tip of course so you can learn through my crazy mistake & miraculous quick fix. On Sunday I decided I was going to make this sauce. Four cups of red wine makes up most of the liquid of the sauce. I didn’t have any red wine on hand but I did have some red wine vinegar & some beef stock. (Remember: vinegar & wine are not the same.)
The recipe calls for 4 cups of red wine so somewhere in my (math-challenged) brain I thought that 1 cup of red wine vinegar & 3 cups of beef stock would be about the same. It was not. I added more tomatoes & water & guess what it was still so acidic that this made my mouth pucker!!! (Huge fail - dinner ware (almost) ruined!) I didn’t give up.
I went straight to google. There I found my solution to neutralizing the acid in my sauce that was only going to intensify as I continued to cook it. Baking soda was the answer! Can you believe it? Actually I was a little embarrassed (in front of myself) that I didn’t remember this from 6th grade science. After all I did make a volcano with baking soda & vinegar.
I grabbed the baking soda from the pantry & added 1 teaspoon at a time to my giant pot of bolognese sauce. At first the sauce bubbled like my 6th grade science project. I like to think that the baking soda eating the acid, or you know neutralizing it. Then I tasted it. It already tasted so much better with no flavor of the baking soda whatsoever.
I added one more teaspoon of baking soda. I let it bubble up again & stirred it before tasting it & when I did I was convinced that it was that much better that I save it & didn’t need any more baking soda.
Then I had Chris taste the sauce which he thought still tasted too acidic. So I added one last teaspoon of baking soda & had Chris taste it again. We both agreed that it was finally neutralized. (I suggest always having a second taster especially if you were the one tasting the sauce when it was pure vinegar. The second taster will have a different reference point.)
The moral of this tip: if you have a soup or sauce that is too acid add baking soda to neutralize it. It’s that simple. Also if you don't have red wine or don't want to use red wine a nice stock (beef, chicken or veggie) will give you a good flavor without all the pucker & the drama.
Get more of my better home cooking basics here.