Leftover wine usually happens when we either try a bottle we don't care for or when it just wasn't necessary to finish the entire bottle. Recycling and reusing is a good practice around the house, especially in the kitchen. Use as much of each food item as possible, and reuse every drop of wine when you can. Here are a few great uses for leftover wine:
1. Wine Reduction Sauces
Reduction sauces are an ideal way to use leftover white or red wine. If you haven't experimented with reduction sauces, take a run at it and play around with the basics of making a sauce. Often times a stock (ie. Beef, Veal or Chicken) mixed with wine can be simmered for a while until the liquid is reduced to a sauce. Stocks that are homemade are flavorful and easy to do, but they can also be found at most grocery stores, sometimes know as broths. The Julia Child stock recipe is tried and true.
A 1:1 ratio of wine to stock is an easy recipe for sauce. Pour them together into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer down until the sauce is thick and almost not liquid. I love doing this with ports or reds for beef. Pasta sauces simmered with red wines and a bay leaf are also more flavorful.
Some recipes that use wine for the sauce:
Poached Chicken in Truffles & Cream Sauce (uses white wine)
The Ultimate Grilled Ribeye w/ Red Wine Reduction Sauce (uses red wine)
Chicken with Rosemary & Lemon Sauce (uses white wine)
Seared Duck Breast w/ Cherry Port Sauce (uses port)
Presidential Rack of Lamb a la Richelieu (uses white wine)
Filet with Mushrooms & Madeira (uses madeira)
2. Marinating Meats
Marinating beef in red wine is an awesome way to add flavor and tenderize meat. This is a great thing to do when making stews or even before grilling. I especially like reusing wine this way because red wine can get kind of nasty to drink if it's been open for longer than a few weeks, but not too nasty to use for marinating. Here's a recipe to try where the meat gets marinated over night:
Bouef Bourguignonne (marinate with red wine)
3. Hearty Stews
One of my all time favorite recipes is the one listed above. Bouef Bourguignonne not only uses beef that's marinated but it's slow cooked all day with an entire bottle of wine poured in. On a cold day, a warm hearty stew-like dish warms the soul.
The idea isn't too dissimilar to the concept behind sauces where slow simmering creates a thicker, richer sauce, but with stews, all the ingredients soak up the flavors and gain a wonderful texture.
As mentioned above, red wine can get too nasty to drink after being open too long, but works fine in stews even if it smells a bit off.