Cheers to Julia Child: 11 Recipes for Leftover Wine
One of the first celebrity chefs, Julia Child remains an icon of home cooking whose classic French recipes and legacy live on in the kitchens of her many followers. One of her characteristic moves was to cook with wine in keeping with French culinary tradition. Leftover wine (or even cheap champagne or sparkling wine) that's too old to drink adds complexity to a dish, elevating the flavor while ensuring no waste of a high-cost beverage. In honor of Child's birthday on Aug. 15, these recipes repurpose sparkling, white, rosé, red, and dessert wines to help home cooks get the most out of every bottle.
The tangy flavors of champagne make it a compatible ingredient for both savory and sweet dishes. This versatile, gravy-like sauce is infused with aromatic vegetables, along with the bubbly, to create depth and richness. It can be used on potatoes, meats, and vegetables, or added to soups and stews for texture and enhanced flavor. Simply Recipes gives the OK to swap any kind of dried mushrooms and any type of sparkling wine, including prosecco or cava, for the given ingredients.
Using white wine to create a sauce for fish is a surefire way to make a flavorful meal from simple ingredients. This sauce from Martha Stewart combines herbs and lemon to add body and bring out the natural minerality and citrus flavors in white wine. Other fish besides cod work well in this recipe, and vegetarians can substitute potatoes and dark greens for the protein. Herbed wine sauce also works nicely as a dressing over salad with grilled fish.
The natural sweetness of shallots mixes with the piquant tanginess of white wine to kick simply cooked root vegetables up a few notches. The wine is the star of this dish featured on "The Splendid Table," with the remainder of the mildly flavored ingredients as backdrop. The finished product is sophisticated enough to serve at dinner parties and very budget-friendly, thanks to the low cost of root vegetables. People who are sensitive to wheat and grains can substitute this dish for pasta without missing out on flavor or texture.
White wine adds zest to braised chicken and sets the stage for a flavor-rich dish that's light enough for warm weather. The simplicity of this Epicurious recipe is very much in the style of Julia Child, relying on a few high-quality ingredients for maximum flavor. The ease of preparation and low price make it a top option for feeding a crowd and getting the most out of leftover white wine.
Perhaps the most iconic French dish, coq au vin is a recipe truly worthy of Julia Child's birthday. The slow and low stewing of cheap chicken thighs and legs with red wine yields deep and satisfying flavor in every bite. Old wine works as well as wine from a just-opened bottle, bringing the cost of this dish with a fancy reputation down to the everyday level. Don't take any shortcuts and follow the advice from Simply Recipes to blanch the bacon before proceeding.
This simple and traditional recipe from Julia Child herself is a good introduction to the classic techniques of French cooking, which include incorporating wine into a sauce. Many of the fundamentals are uncomplicated yet essential. Time-consuming steps such as making a paste from butter and flour to thicken the wine-based ragu pay off handsomely in the end. The best French cuisine can't be rushed, and preparing one of the master chef's recipes serves as a clear reminder.
Die-hard Julia fans have probably made her recipe for beef bourguignon many times. It's hard to think of a more noble end for leftover red wine than marrying it with chunks of tender beef, vegetables, and herbs. Burgundy is ideal, although other varieties will suffice. Practice patience when preparing this hearty stew. As noted in the recipe, simmering for three to four hours lets the flavors meld and the alcohol cook off, leaving only sumptuous goodness behind.
Chefs like cooking with veal because of its supple texture and delicate but earthy flavor. Think of it as the rosé of the meat world, possessing qualities of both light and dark meat just the way rosé captures qualities of red and white wines. This Real Simple recipe calls for red wine, but if that unfinished bottle is a rosé or rich white, go right ahead and make the substitution. Deglazing the pan with wine creates the base of this sauce, a technique worth mastering because it can be used whenever a recipe calls for sautéing.
A classic dish in the French canon, red wine poached pears à la Julia Child are a welcome dessert after any meal. Any leftover red wine does the trick in this recipe from the second volume of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," with orange zest, sugar, cloves, and vanilla spicing up the poaching liquid. If there isn't enough wine to easily cover the pear halves, cut them into quarters so the liquid on hand overspreads the pieces. These wine-infused pears taste great warm, room temperature, or cold, so prepare them anytime.
Many dessert wines feature flavors of peach, nectarine, and apricot, which makes pairing them with stone fruit a natural choice. The concentrated sweetness and acidity of dessert wine draw out the flavors of ripe fruit in this recipe from The Kitchn. The slight caramelization that happens after roasting or grilling the fruit enhances the flavor profile so that every bite provides a full pop of luxurious taste.
A half bottle of leftover sparkling wine is the special something in these festive treats. Rosé champagne's light berry and floral notes with a tinge of tartness give layers of flavor to an otherwise simple cookie. In a recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home, low-cost ingredients such as sugar and flour make these cookies a cheap way to bring elegance to a special occasion. The alcohol is cooked out in the baking, so the treats can be enjoyed by young and old alike.