STOP! DON’T TOSS THAT WINE

If you have ever poured out the last few ounces of a wine that was just a little too old to drink, this article is for you.

Sometimes a bottle of wine is opened and not finished.  Either it’s forgotten for a few days or for some other reason it becomes a little to old to drink.  Usually what happens to it is it becomes oxidized – giving it off flavors. These flavors disappear when the wine is simmered for a while.

If this is the case with a white wine, you can still put it to good use.  A splash of white wine in the pan after sautéing chicken or fish will help deglaze the pan and add a nice bit of acidity to a pan sauce – just make sure that the alcohol is evaporated before you drizzle it over the finished product.  If you are not going to be cooking for a while I would recommend putting the left over wine in a plastic container and freezing it until needed.

Small amounts of red wine can be frozen and added to until you have about a bottles worth or more.  At that point I like to prepare a sort of red wine essence which can be used to provide great color and flavor in stews, braises and also to deglaze sautéed pork and beef preparations.

I’m not talking about wine that is flawed from the start by being “corked” or from other obvious maladies.  Wines that fit that description should be discarded.

RED WINE ESSENCE

Place at least a 4 cups  of red wine into a non-reactive pot with 1 large peeled, finely chopped carrot,  1 stalk of finely chopped celery, 1 medium, peeled & chopped onion and a couple sprigs of thyme.  Slowly bring to a boil, turn down the heat &  simmer until it is reduced by half.  Strain off the wine and refrigerate or freeze until needed.

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