Cooking with leftover wine
Elena Peña (The Freeman) - January 11, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The holidays are over. For sure, the season of indulgence has its leftovers. Wine, for example – there may some half-full bottles standing around whose future is not quite certain.

Okay, anything with no clear purpose does not deserve precious space. But it’s also crazy to throw away good wine. Leftover wine has to be put to good use.

The best thing to do with leftover wine is of course to drink it. If not, it better be stored properly until a good use for it comes to mind. There are certainly good uses for good wine.

Leftover wine can be refrigerated and used for cooking if kept for only one to two weeks.  Or, it can be poured off into a clean small bottles, then corked, and stored in the refrigerator.  Without air space at the top, the rebottled wine will keep for up to one month.

For cooking, le ftover wine has many good uses. White wine, in particular, pairs especially well with seafood (and seafood pastas), and it is also good in soups, braises, and even desserts. But the first and most important rule is to use only wines that the cook himself would drink.

Again, the cook should never use any wine that he himself would not drink! If he does not like the taste of a wine, he won’t like the dish he uses it in. In that case, more than half of the value of the dish is lost before it even lands on the dining table.

Wine has three main uses in the kitchen – as a marinade ingredient, as a cooking liquid, and as a flavoring in a finished dish. Wine is used to intensify, enhance, and accent the flavor and aroma of food – not to mask the flavor but rather to fortify it.

As with any seasoning used in cooking, care should be taken in the amount of wine used – too little is inconsequential and too much will be overpowering. Either extreme shall be avoided. But even a small quantity of wine will already enhance the flavor of the dish.

The alcohol in the wine evaporates while the food is cooking, and only the flavor remains. Boiling down wine concentrates the flavor, including acidity and sweetness.  So it pays to be careful not to use too much wine, otherwise the flavor could overpower the dish.One shall wait about 10 minutes to taste before adding more wine.

Experienced chefs advise that, for best results, wine should not be added to a dish just before serving.  The wine should sivmmer with the food, or sauce, to enhance the flavor of the dish. If added late in the preparation, it could impart a harsh quality.

The cook must bear in mind that wine does not belong in every dish.  And more than one wine-based sauce in a single meal can be monotonous.  Thus, wine shall be used in cooking only when it has something to contribute to the finished dish.

Here’s a sample dish where leftover wine can be used:

Chinese Soy Sauce Chicken


4 slices finely sliced ginger, 1cm each

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 packchicken barbeque mix

1½ cups water

1 pc star anise

1 tsp five-spice powder(sold at supermarkets)

1.2 kg whole chicken

½ cupleftover wine

1. In a large pot, sauté garlic and ginger in sesame oil untilaroma comes out.

2. Add chicken barbeque mix, water, star anise and five-spice powder, and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to low, add chicken to the saucy mix, and pour wine over chicken. The liquid shallnow cover only about half the chicken, and the pot shall be   open.

4. Turn chicken after 20 minutes and cook other side for another 20 minutes, still on low heat.

5. Remove chicken from pot and let it cool for a few minutes.

6. Cut chicken into serving pieces, arrange these on a plate.

Serve with some sauce over the meat, to pair with rice. This recipe serves four to six persons.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with