What are some great "Take X, add bottle of wine, cook for Y hours" recipes?
December 23, 2011 7:50 AM   Subscribe

What are some great recipes that involve taking some thing, adding an entire bottle of wine, a couple of minor ingredients (salt/pepper/herbs/vegetables for savory, sugar/spices/fruit for sweet) and then cooking it slowly for many hours? Especially recipes where it doesn't matter that the wine is probably exceptionally bad.

My parents-in-law have a rack of almost-certainly mediocre wines that has been sitting there for ages; if I can get their permission (not that difficult) I could probably polish off one or two of these bottles of wine given the right recipes.

I know that technically you shouldn't cook with wine you wouldn't drink, but no one here drinks wine and I guarantee that few of these wines are worth drinking anyway. Still, I'd hate to throw them away or see them continue to gather dust.

I know about wine syrup or concentrating down wine and freezing it, but given the already sparse use of wine in this house it'd probably be better to use the wine up right away.

I have access to your standard kitchen equipment but not a slow cooker.
posted by Deathalicious to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Well, we usually get rid of mediocre wine by making Sangria. But there's also coq au vin.

Although what we really do is, rather than using an entire bottle, just add a bit of wine to all sorts of sauteed or stewed dishes. Adds a nice extra punch. And the wine eventually gets used up.
posted by vacapinta at 7:55 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Coq au vin! I don't have a specific recipe, unfortunately. There's so many that I'm sure you can find one with ingredients to your preference.
posted by griphus at 7:55 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Bœuf Bourguignon!

Huh, apparently these french folks have a thing for recipes with wine...
posted by Grither at 8:00 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: There are some things that make wine bad that make it unsuitable for cooking and some things that make wine bad the won't hurt at all for cooking. For example, an overly oaky wine is going to taste double super overly oaky on cooking down, because that taste doesn't really cook out.

With that said, I would try some short ribs braised in the stuff until they fall apart. Just brown the short ribs first and layer in some sauteed carrots onions and celery. Serve over starch - should be pretty good!
posted by ftm at 8:01 AM on December 23, 2011

Mulled Wine
posted by empath at 8:01 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can probably also make vinegar.
posted by empath at 8:02 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Ribs! I'm serious. Trust me on this.

Slice up a rack of baby backs, two bones to a chunk
Two bulbs of crushed garlic
a cup of molasses
1/4 cup of honey
1 large smashed ginger root
a whole bottle of red. I like a heavy Cabernet

Bring to a boil, add a little water if needed to cover completely. Boil for about an hour, uncovered. Or lower/slower if you aren't in a hurry. The wine mix boils down into a tar-like thick BBQ sauce that will literally take your breath away when you taste it because it's so rich. The ribs will be fall off the bone tender.

I tried this recipe because I saw it on an episode of Kenny vs Spenny, where Kenny cooks his famous ribs and all the food critics loved them. I was quite skeptical, being a smoke pit ribs kind of guy, but oh boy are they delicious. You can also finish them on the grill to char them up a bit.
posted by sanka at 8:02 AM on December 23, 2011 [23 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, just to reiterate that no one here drinks wine in any form or fashion, so making mulled wine or sangria is probably not a great choice. I'm also only here for a few days so I need recipes that get rid of a lot of wine quickly.

I'm not a vegetarian (I consider myself a lapsed vegetarian, sorta like being a lapsed Catholic, I supposed) but I'd love vegetable-centric dishes as with Christmas dinner and living with committed carnivores it is going to be pretty meaty over the next week or so.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:05 AM on December 23, 2011

Response by poster: That said, OMG sanka that recipe you just posted looks fantastic. Would it work on chicken or beef?
posted by Deathalicious at 8:07 AM on December 23, 2011

I adapted a goulash recipe to use up a half a bottle of wine that had been sitting around a bit too long to drink enjoyably.
posted by LN at 8:07 AM on December 23, 2011

I use a cup of crappy wine with a two pound beef roast and spices and mirepoix in the crock pot for a stew/roast thing, but using a whole bottle would be way too much -- especially if it's not great tasting wine. I hope you are open to doing a handful of recipes. I cook with bad wine fairly often but I'm not sure I've seen many recipes that call for more than a cup, usually less.
posted by Nattie at 8:08 AM on December 23, 2011

Coq au Vin from the marvellous Nigel Slater.

Boeuf bourguignon from the equally marvellous Nigel Slater.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 8:08 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: As long as the wine isn't the worst wine ever, Spaghetti All'Ubriaco would work.
posted by thisjax at 8:08 AM on December 23, 2011

I've made beef stew based on this recipe, which uses an entire bottle of red wine.

My experience with using wine in vegetable-based recipes is that they use maybe a cup or two of wine (e.g. red wine braised root vegetables); I don't think I've seen anything that used an entire bottle.
posted by needled at 8:11 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: The Pioneer Woman's Braised Short Ribs is a go-to recipe of mine. I've used cheap wine too and it's still great. You can sub bacon instead of pancetta for less fussiness. The recipe calls for 2 cups, but I usually pour the whole bottle in and make it a little soupier, YMMV.
posted by permiechickie at 8:15 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Deathalicious, I have a huge, tough stewing hen in my freezer that needs something done to it, and braising it in that mix described by sanka might be just the thing.

I wouldn't use prolonged braising or boiling on tender chicken or beef, but chicken legs and any tough, collagen rich beef should stand up to it. See this article for a guide to cuts of beef appropriate for braising.
posted by maudlin at 8:24 AM on December 23, 2011

French onion soup is great if you split the red wine with whatever other broth (either beef or mushroom, if you are doing a vegetarian/vegan version) you'd use. Also, any beef stew with red wine is amazing.
posted by shownomercy at 8:29 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Beef stew would be good, also a chuck roast (salt/pepper the chuck, brown it on both sides with a cut-up onion and some minced garlic, add about half-and-half water & red wine, say 3 cups liquid total, simmer gently for an hour and a half or two hours --- don't worry, you really can't overdo a chuck roast!)

Hearty reds, like burgundy or merlots, are great for beef; whites are good for things like fish.
posted by easily confused at 8:30 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: If it's sweet, use it in a trifle or marinate some fruit. Or see how switching the brandy for wine is in cherries jubillee.

If it's really undrinkable, you could try dying a t-shirt with all the bottles of red.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: To reiterate what everyone is saying, any kind of stew or braising. Find a tough piece of game, pork or beef and go nuts. (stay away from poultry and tender cuts.) Wine quality does still matter, but not as much as if you were to drink it.

Bœuf Bourguignon is of course amazing, but if you want something simple, a tough cut of meat, a bottle of wine, and a few herbs will go a loooooong way.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:32 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe not exactly what you asked for, but poached pears/peaches in wine is nice as a desert.

I dont have a specific recipe but you skin the fruit (you could leave it on), halve it, remove the pits etc, put about a quarter inch of white wine in a pan and optionally add cloves, cinnamon etc for spices, and poach until the fruit is cooked firm and the wine has reduced to a glaze.

Serve hot with a dab of mint-infused yogurt or a balsamic reduction, or both. White wine is better for this but it does work with red. Dont use wine that has gone bad obviously, but Two-Buck-Chuck is fine.
posted by elendil71 at 8:52 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Along with all of the other braised recipes people have mentioned already, cassoulet (whether traditional or not, as in the link) can happily absorb a half a bottle of wine (or more or less, depending on the size of your pot).
posted by Forktine at 9:15 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: And you can use the rest of the bottle to make risotto, too. (That link is to a random white-wine recipe; red works equally well.)
posted by Forktine at 9:17 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: If it's vinegar-y, cook with it. If it tastes bad, don't. Making coq au vin that tastes like feet is a waste of time and chicken. Do I know this from a Life Lesson? Why, yes, I do.

Test it on some pasta sauce, just make enough for 1 portion: Brown a little Italian Sausage and onions. Add a splash of wine and a cup or so of pasta sauce from a jar. Let it reduce a bit. If the pasta sauce tastes good, then the wine is okay to cook with
posted by theora55 at 9:26 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Chef Ef (Efrain Martinez) has a book on classic Spanish cooking.
My old Spanish roommate found the recipe and was stoked.
(Chef Ef's show sounds like it was a travesty, however.)
I am not home, do not have the book here and am notoriously bad about remembering to post things when I get home. So my apologies.

The recipe was basically this:
about a 1/2 pound of cured fatty pork (bacon is okay if ya got nothing else) chopped
3 or 4 large onions (diced large)
Garlic (minced)
2 or 3 lbs. of chicken pieces (bone-in)
1 bottle of red wine
oil as necessary to get the fat rendered and chickened browned
salt and pepper to taste

Render the fat out of the pork then brown the chicken pieces. Remove the chicken and sautee the onions until translucent. Add the chicken back in and pour in a bottle of wine.
Cook until the chicken is loose on the bone and the wine, pork and onions thicken into a nice sauce. If the wine reduces too far, add only as much water as it takes to keep it from sticking and burning.

Mmmmm . . . purple chicken with purple porky gravy.

We served it with rice or pasta, salad and sauteed veggies
posted by Seamus at 9:27 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I know you said they're not wine drinkers but I can't not mention glogg, which is sweet and delicious and enjoyed by all the non wine drinkers I know at the holidays.
posted by bq at 9:36 AM on December 23, 2011

You could reduce down to a syrup and use to drizzle on a steak, or on a panna cotta...

My stomach was already growling before I read this question and I'm about to be emergency hungry now.
posted by TheRedArmy at 9:56 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: In my experience trying to polish off the wines of people who don't drink, you can't assume any of it is drinkable. Typically the bottles have been sitting way too long in bad conditions. Most midrange wine is not made to age. So if you have anything that's been sitting on the shelf more than five years or so, check it first, before you dump it into your meat.

If it's not spoiled, then really, it's hard to go wrong. Cheap beef or lamb, as much wine as you want, some garlic, onion, and carrots; bay and/or thyme; throw it in a slow cooker or low oven; sugar at the end to balance and some roux to thicken. There are a million variations.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:00 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: OK, if it's white wine, you can make a dandy cauliflower soup.
1 large head of cauliflower
1 med. onion, diced (or a couple shallots, diced)
at least a stick of unsalted butter
2 or 3 cups of chicken stock (low sodium is best because it allows you to salt to taste, rather than letting the saltiness of the stock determine how much salt you add)
2 or 3 cups white wine
2 cloves garlic, smashed
pint of cream (that's 2 cups)
salt, white pepper to taste
4 oz gorgonzola cheese (not the picante unless that is your preference)
Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat and add the onions to sweat for about 10 minutes. You want them translucent instead of brown, so keep an eye on it.

Add the garlic when the onions about about done and let it sweat for less than a minute.If you start to smell it, you've gone too far. At this point, you can throw in a couple tablespoons of flour and stir to incorporate if you want. I don't, but it's up to you how thick you like your soup. Here's where you add your stock and wine. If you use 2 cups of stock, you want 3 cups of wine and vice versa. Let this mixture cook and reduce for about an hour over low heat.

Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and steam it for about 30 minutes. While it steams, add the gorgonzola to the soup. You'll need to stir a while to incorporate the cheese properly. The cauliflower goes in when it's done cooking. You want it pretty soft so it incorporates easily into the soup. At this point, you can puree the soup with a hand blender. The cauliflower brings a certain amount of water with it from the steamer, so check your texture and let it cook down a little if it seems too thin. Taste, and season according to your taste.

Add the cream last, and don't stir it too much or your cream might separate. Do not want. Serve with a garnish of freshly grated nutmeg.

Or, if you have red wine and enough tomatoes, you can make my secret (not anymore) tomato sauce. Do you have a large (5 quart ish) crock pot? If not, you'll have to use a soup pot in the oven.
2 lbs. tomatoes (I have some pretty good roma tomatoes even at this time of year)
2 large onions, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
a jalapeno if you're feeling puckish
head of garlic, peeled and smashed
olive oil
nice balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
1 bottle of tart red wine (smell the wine before you use it. If you don't drink wine because it gives you headaches, cooking it might not ameliorate this effect. Just FYI)
put all these ingredients into the crock pot or soup pot. Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low (200 degree oven - make sure it covered), or 4 to 6 hours on high (250 degree oven).

Once you get it out of the oven, you can drain the liquid and reduce it. Then add it back to the solid ingredients and puree the whole mess. Add herbs like marjoram, parsley, and basil to make a terrific pasta sauce.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 10:01 AM on December 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Mojo:

8-10 large Onions
6 Tablespoons Garlic
2 Cups juice-of-citrus (I use limade, usually, because I like it a little sweeter, but you can use straight up lime juice, orange juice/juice of orange, whatever you like. Adjust quantities here for desired tartness).
Olive Oil

Chop up all the onions. Heat oil in large pan on low heat, add the onions, saute until they begin to brown. Add garlic, saute for about 45 seconds. Pour wine in (enough to cover onions and garlic.) Simmer (on very low heat!) until the wine is almost completely reduced (Usually takes around an hour for me.) Pour in citrus, simmer and reduce by half.

Enjoy with everything. This stuff keeps for months and makes a delicious condiment,garnish, or marinade with almost everything. I put it on my french fries (or yucca fries, yum.) Great on flat breads/crackers as a snack, baked onto tortilla chips with a bit of cheese to make the best nachos ever, emulsified in a bit more oil for a salad dressing or marinade for the meat of your choice, on fajitas burritos and tacos, baked potatos....

I would not be exaggerating saying mojo pretty much changed my life and approach to cooking and eating. But that may just be me.
posted by kittenmarlowe at 10:04 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

If the wine is bad enough to not be drinkable, you really should just toss it and not ruin food with it. The bad taste won't go away; in fact, it will only intensify.
posted by Gilbert at 10:44 AM on December 23, 2011

I visited Pedroncelli winery recently, and they had recipe cards in their tasting room. Almost all the recipes I remember required a lot of wine. I haven't tried any of the recipes myself, but you can search their recipe database by varietal, which could be helpful.
posted by nadise at 11:26 AM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Mushrooms!

Okay, here's what you do: Melt 2 or 3 sticks of butter in a big stock pot. Add a big bottle of cheap red wine. Get everything boiling, then throw in 3 or 4 packages of whole mushrooms (plain button mushrooms are fine. Fancier mushrooms would work, too). You might have to let some of them cook down before you can get all of them in the pot. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer away for at least a couple of hours, stirring very occasionally (though you can let it simmer practically all day, and your place will smell amazing). Drain and serve. They are ridiculously delicious.

As a bonus, you can collect the wine infused butter afterward and use it for delicious scrambled eggs, etc. for the next couple of weeks.
posted by quietshout at 12:06 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Nattie: "I cook with bad wine fairly often but I'm not sure I've seen many recipes that call for more than a cup, usually less."

Yeah, that's actually why I asked this question. I'm at my inlaws for the week, they have a ton of bottles of wine that will never get drunk. Back home we rarely if ever have wine and I almost never cook with it. When I am on rare occasion gifted with a bottle of cheapish wine, it'd be nice to know how to get rid of it quickly and tastily, all in one go. Otherwise it's crowding out space in our fridge that could otherwise be occupied with tasty, tasty soda.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Daube d'Aubergines - this scaled-up version of a Claudia Roden recipe uses a bottle of red, plenty of aubergines/eggplant and is really tasty.

(but then of course I like wine)
posted by calico at 3:03 PM on December 23, 2011

Nobody has mentioned pot roast yet? This is the most nummylicious recipe for pot roast I know of. It only uses one cup of wine, but you can make it again and again with different combos of vegetables. Two wings up!!
posted by parrot_person at 6:19 PM on December 23, 2011

You could make a big pot of wine reduction sauce and freeze it in smaller portions for later use. This recipe calls for a bottle of port in addition to the wine but you could just as well use another bottle of wine.
posted by islander at 6:48 PM on December 23, 2011

Why don't you give us a list of the bottle labels--producer, type of wine, and the year--and we will tell you which ones are most likely salvageable?
posted by sunnichka at 8:57 PM on December 23, 2011

Response by poster: sunnichka: "Why don't you give us a list of the bottle labels--producer, type of wine, and the year--and we will tell you which ones are most likely salvageable?"

Ha ha. A lot of them are vanity wines, where some friend or colleague has paid some crappy vineyard to make a set of bottles with my inlaws' name on it. The rest of them, I think, are your generic Californian wines. Most of them probably Cabs and Merlots. There are, I would hazard, 20+ bottles gathering dust on the rack, most of them reds. Although it would be an interesting exercise, I suspect that with all of them the truth is they're either okay or horrid and I'm just going to have to grab a handful of them and try each one out before cooking with it.

That said, are there any wine varieties which tend to age better than others, particularly if they've been sitting around for a long time? Are there any to avoid?
posted by Deathalicious at 7:10 AM on December 24, 2011

Best answer: Peposo!
posted by Eshkol at 9:58 AM on December 24, 2011

Well, I know you said a bottle of wine and other ingredients to stew for a while . . . but there is this cookie recipe that my family has made for years.
The Italian side brought it over with them.
It is stupid simple.

Italian Wine Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup white wine
3-5 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder

Roll and shape into knots or twists and bake on a greased pan at 400
degrees till golden about 10 to 20 minutes.

That's it. One of the easiest cookies possible. They are almost like a shortbread except they have a longer flake. Worth a try for anyone who has a bottle of white lying around or the last cup of a white that has been sitting in the fridge a little too long.
posted by Seamus at 2:09 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! The week has come and gone and I ended up being too lazy to make a bottle-of-wine dish but will definitely try some of these out in the future, especially if we are ever gifted with a bottle of wine.

I did actually make Christmas dinner though, and as part of it I made gravy that used a lot of wine, might as well share it:

First, roast a capon. It's more expensive that turkey but oh my goodness is it worth it. It was frikken delicious. I will need to work on cooking time next time, I put the meat thermometer into the wrong part of the bird and so took it out too early.

Remove the capon from the roasting pan. There will be a huge quantity of melted capon fat in the pan. Drain it into a bowl and save it for later.

Put the roasting pan directly over the stovetop and heat over low heat, scraping all the lovely brown bits into the center of the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix together well, stirring often to keep from burning until the mixture has a light brown texture. Next, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of stock, stirring often. You do this slowly so that the flour mixture has a chance to absorb the liquid. Once the broth has been completely absorbed, let it reduce back a bit then add 1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle of red wine. Continue to stir until the whole thing is completely smooth, then reduce until it coats a spoon.

The capon was juicy enough that it didn't "need" the gravy, but the gravy was fantastic on the roasted root vegetables and ritz cracker stuffing.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:42 AM on January 1, 2012

Response by poster: I forgot to add that you need to increase the temperature after adding the flour and then again once you add the broth/wine.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:44 AM on January 1, 2012

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