No matter how pedantic wine drinkers can be about drinking their wine, or storing it well enough to allow for sufficient drinking time before it goes off, everyone has at some point been left with leftover wine. The important thing to remember in these situations is that unless the wine is off or you simply don’t like the taste of it, there is never ever a cause to waste wine.
There are so many ways to get creative with that last bit of wine. Waste not, want not. Even when you are left with one glass, that can be enough to make yourself a wine cocktail, or you could use it to cook and bake with.
To be honest, in our house the scenario is more likely that we open the wine for cooking as an excuse to drink more wine, but either way of looking at it, a bit of wine creates endless opportunities for culinary exploration and experimentation.
Here are a few ways to use leftover wine (or as in my case “A Few Reasons To Open The Next Bottle Even If You Can’t Commit To Finishing It”)
1. Scallop & Corn Chowder
This scallop and corn chowder dish simply bursts with flavour! It is a confirmation of how well seafood and white wine can be paired. Although many white wines will work with this dish, I would happily suggest using some Carrol Boyes Chenin Blanc. This wine is so delicious that you should not really have much left, but if you do, use it in this recipe!
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 5 slices of bacon, diced
- 680g (+- 16) sea scallops, patted dry
- ¼ cup flat-leafed parsley
- 227g Yukon potatoes, cut into 1½ cm cubes (with or without skin)
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
- Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat for around 5 minutes or until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- There should be around 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings left in the skillet, if not, you can add some olive oil. Turn the stove up to medium high. Season the scallops with ¾ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper, then cook for around 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer scallops to a plate.
- Add onion to the skillet with drippings, cook for around 5 minutes, or until translucent.
- Reduce heat and add leftover wine, broth cream and potatoes. Simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Add the corn and the scallops and simmer to heat through. Garnish with bacon and parsley.
2. Slow Cooker Spiced Wine
I am absolutely obsessed with slow cooker recipes. In winter, it seems like my slow cooker is on 24/7. The smell of soups, stocks, and stews are constantly wafting through the house, making me seem incredibly domesticated to everyone who comes into the house. This slow cooker spiced wine recipe will make your house smell like Christmas. It is the perfect recipe for using that leftover wine, which is good, but not necessarily a variety which you enjoy drinking. It will work with most red wines, but I recommend using a dry red wine, such as the Carrol Boyes Merlot.
- 5 whole cloves
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks (plus a few for garnish)
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 orange, juice and zest (plus a few slices for garnish)
- ¼ cup brandy
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 bottle of red wine
- Add the orange zest, orange juice, leftover wine, honey, apple cider to your low cooker. Stir to combine. Then add the spices: cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and cloves. Stir again and cook on low for around 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until warmed through. This will depend on your slow cooker. Stir in the brandy.
- Add the wine to mugs using a ladle. Garnish each mug with cinnamon sticks and a slice of orange. Keep the wine warm with the “keep warm” setting, or by alternating between “low” and “off”.
3. Fish Piccata
This fish piccata recipe also uses that last bit of white leftover wine, which as delicious as it is, will add so much flavour to a dish, and really shouldn’t be wasted. I suggest using a white wine such as the Cape Sun Chenin Blanc. This dish is so quick and easy to make, it would be a great addition to anyone’s culinary repertoire!
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2tbs olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2tbs capers
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup flour
- 2tbs butter
- 4 small white fish fillets (around 454g)
- 2tbs fresh parsley, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-heat. While the pan is heating up, use paper towels to blot the fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in flour and shake off the excess. Then sauté the fish in the oil for around 2 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. Transfer fish to plate. Add white leftover wine to the pan, whisking continuously for around 1 minute. Stir in the capers and lemon juice. Add the butter and whisk until the sauce has the right consistency. Pour the sauce over the fish and garnish with parsley before serving.
4. Wine Jelly
This wine jelly recipe should make every wine lover’s heart happy! It is a great way of using that leftover wine to make something which is sure to impress your guests the next time you assemble a cheese platter. We all know preserves are an essential component of any cheese platter. The bonus here is that you can make this recipe by using red or white wine, so it’s a perfect opportunity to use any wine you don’t want to finish. I prefer using red wine, such as the Carrol Boyes Shiraz.
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 4½ cups of white sugar
- 3½ cups of wine
- 1 packet dry pectin (around 57g)
- Combine lemon juice, wine, and pectin in a large pot. Bring to a boil while stirring frequently. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Bring to a boil again, and boil for 1 minute. Then reduce the heat and remove the foam off the top.
- Using a ladle, add the jelly into hot, sterilized jars. Leave around 1.3cm headspace. Tighten the 2-piece lids and process for about 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.
5. Dark Chocolate Cake with Red Leftover Wine Glaze
This recipe is one of the best reasons to never throw out that last bit of red wine. Who doesn’t love chocolate, cake, and wine? No one! The bitterness of the dark chocolate in this leftover wine cake recipe creates a perfectly balanced, not too sweet, cake. I recommend using a medium to full-bodied red wine, such as the Cape Sun Cabernet Sauvignon.
For the Cake:
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
- ⅓cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 227g dark chocolate (70% cacao or more), chopped
For the glaze:
- ½ cup red leftover wine
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 227g dark chocolate (70% cacao or more), finely chopped
Special equipment: A 9” springform pan
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 163˚C. Lightly butter and flour pan. Heat the chocolate, sugar, and 1 cup of butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool completely.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs to chocolate mixture 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat until mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Reduce speed to low and add salt and 1/3 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
- Bake the cake until the top is firm and the edges are slightly darkened (about 55–65 minutes but it’s best to rely on visual cues; a tester inserted into cake’s centre will come out clean before cake is truly done). Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.
For glaze and assembly:
- Heat the chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (again, the bowl should not touch the water), stirring, until the chocolate and the butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar.
- Meanwhile, bring leftover wine just to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Remove the chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring (about 8–10 minutes.)
- Set the cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the glaze over the cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let the cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set (about 2–3 hours.)