What to Do With Leftover Wine: 7 Great Ideas
Words Julia Turshen
Have an open bottle of red wine you couldn’t quite finish drinking? Or an old forgotten white in the back of the fridge? Wine is still great for cooking even months after you wouldn’t want to drink it. Use up your leftovers with these delicious recipes from Julia Turshen’s cookbook, Now & Again.
So you cracked open a bottle of wine with last night’s dinner, but didn’t finish it, and today it’s tasting a little…old, and not in an intentionally aged kind of way. Don’t pour it down the drain—it’s still totally usable for cooking, even if it’s been open for a long time. Try these seven delicious recipes for using up leftover vino, including red, white, and Champagne. And next time, try sealing it with a Spillproof Wine Stopper when you’re done sipping to keep it fresh longer.
Sangria Ice Cubes
Mix leftover wine (any color) with equal amounts of fresh orange juice and freeze in ice cube trays (the orange juice will help lower the alcohol content so the cubes will freeze more solidly). Once frozen, pop the cubes into an airtight freezer bag and keep on hand to cool down your next pitcher of sangria.
Coq au Vin Blanc
Cut up a whole chicken (or buy one already cut up) and season aggressively with salt and pepper. Heat up a slick of olive oil and a knob of butter in a large, heavy pot and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Add a finely chopped yellow onion, a few minced garlic cloves, and enough white wine to come halfway up the sides of the chicken. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover partially, and simmer until the chicken is incredibly tender, about 45 minutes. If you’d like, just before serving, add a splash of cream or whisk in some crème fraîche to make the sauce extra rich. Good as is or with sautéed or roasted mushrooms folded in at the end. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
Braised Pork with Red Wine + Cherries
Cut 2 lb [910 g] boneless pork shoulder into bite-size pieces and season aggressively with salt and pepper. Heat up a slick of olive oil in a large, heavy pot and brown the pork well (work in batches as necessary). Add a thinly sliced large red onion, 2 large handfuls of dried cherries, and enough red wine to come halfway up the sides of the pork. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover. Finish cooking in a 300°F [150°C] oven, stirring now and then, until the pork is very tender, about 2 hours. Ideally, refrigerate the pork overnight and then gently warm it the next day over low heat (it always tastes better the next day). Serve with creamy polenta, egg noodles, or rice—anything to soak up all of the rich sauce.
Pour whatever red wine you have left over in a large pot and add enough water to total about 4 qt [3.7 L] liquid. Bring to a boil, add 1 lb [455 g] spaghetti, and cook until just al dente. Scoop out 1 cup [240 ml] of the cooking liquid, then drain the spaghetti, return it to the pot, and add the reserved cooking liquid and 3 Tbsp unsalted butter. Cook over low heat, tossing, until the spaghetti has absorbed a lot of the liquid and the mixture is saucy, about 2 minutes. Add 2 large handfuls of finely grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese and then serve with extra cheese on top.
Red Wine Onions
Thinly slice 2 lb [910 g] red onions (about 4 medium) and cook down in a little bit of olive oil, stirring now and then, until softened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with ¼ cup [50 g] packed dark brown sugar and 1 tsp each salt and red pepper flakes. Add 2 cups [480 ml] red wine. Boil, stirring now and then, until most of the liquid evaporates and the onions are collapsed and concentrated, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and/or brown sugar if needed. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Serve with roast chicken, grilled lamb, or alongside cheese, or use to top a burger or roast beef sandwich. You can even use these onions as the base for a stew (add browned pieces of beef or lamb, a few diced root vegetables, and a bit of water or stock and simmer until the meat is incredibly tender).
Champagne + Honey Poached Pears
Peel and core pears that aren’t too ripe (otherwise they won’t hold their shape) and poach in Champagne that you’ve brought to a simmer and sweetened gently with honey. Cook just until tender and then remove the pears from the poaching liquid. Reduce the liquid over high heat to a syrup and drizzle on the pears. Serve as is or with unsweetened whipped cream, plain yogurt, sour cream, or vanilla ice cream. Also very good with pound cake or other plain cake.
Red Wine-Poached Eggs
Poach eggs in red wine instead of water for added color and flavor. If you’d like a more complex dish, start by crisping some diced bacon in a large pot and remove with a slotted spoon. Add tons of sliced mushrooms to the bacon fat and soften them over the heat. Add red wine to cover and simmer until slightly concentrated and then poach eggs in the mixture. Serve with the mushrooms on garlic-rubbed toast or soft polenta.
Can’t get enough wine? Try this delicious mulled wine cocktail, a frosty strawberry frosé, or one of our favorite wines to speed chill . And don’t forget the corkscrew—figure out which wine opener is right for you.
Photo credit: David Loftus
Reprinted from Now & Again by Julia Turshen with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018