Red wine doesn’t last long in an open bottle. Even if you’ve tried to vacuum out the air and cork or cap it tightly, no matter. After a couple of days, it just won’t be that tasty. Fortunately, there are at least 7 smart ways to use leftover wine so you won’t have to throw it away.
1) Make ice. Pour the wine into ice cube trays and freeze to use later to add a little depth to a stew or sauce.
2) Make sauce. Speaking of sauce, you can make a delicious red wine sauce for meat, chicken or grilled or braised vegetables. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in a heavy pan like cast iron, so the mixture won’t burn. Add a cup or so of red wine and simmer until the wine boils down almost into a syrup. Add a little boullion or soup stock to get the consistency you want. Serve the sauce on the side, or drizzle over your entree before serving.
3) Add it to other sauces, gazpacho, ratatouille and stew. I’ve gotten into the habit of adding leftover red wine to almost anything I make that has a tomato base. From cold gazpacho to hot ratatouille and everything in between, I’ll add as much as a cup of wine if I have that much leftover and I think the recipe can handle it.
4) Make salad dressing. Whisk 1 tablespoon of leftover wine together with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Add finely chopped shallot, a dollop of Dijon style mustard, and 6-9 tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Whisk vigorously (or shake in a jar with a lid) until well blended.
5) Poach fruit. Put 3 cups of wine in a stock pot and add 1/2-2/3 cup sugar, plus additional spices for flavors you love: a cinnamon stick, star anise, fresh ginger, all spice, whole cloves. Boil the concoction and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add 4-5 cups of peeled fruit – choose something firm like apples or pears, or give peaches a try if you don’t mind that they’ll get pretty soft when they’re poached. Simmer until the fruit is tender, but not falling apart. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Serve with fresh lemon or orange wedges you can squirt for a little zing before eating.
6) Deglaze a pan. If you’ve sauteed meat, chicken or vegetables in a pan, remove those ingredients and then add a cup of leftover wine. Simmer as you stir the bits leftover in the pan into the wine. The wine will reduce to a thick syrup infused with the delicious drippings from the pan that you can serve over the vegetables and meat you just cooked.
7) Flavor salt. I haven’t made this yet, but it sounds delicious. Pour leftover wine into heavy-bottomed pot and simmer 30 minutes or so until the wine becomes a thick syrup. For every tablespoon of liquid, add 1 1/2 cups of salt. Make sure to use rock salt, not finely grained table salt. Stir well, then spread on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Let dry overnight, then store in jars with lids.
What do you do with leftover red wine? Please share!