Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Red Wine Reduction

It's hard to explain this sauce. It's really unusual and quite delicious. It's one of those things that pops into your brain when you're randomly up at night, reading Kafka on the Shore and processing your day.

I've not been sleeping regularly. Yesterday I woke up at 7am. Which sounds fine until I tell you that I work 3pm-12am, I didn't get to sleep until 3am, and yesterday was my day off.

I gave up trying to sleep at 8am and decided to just go ahead and get up and make this sauce since it was in my brain and I had nothing else to then. Yesterday I then proceeded to clean and rearrange almost my entire house. It was a very weird and productive day.

Anyway, the sauce. I wanted to do a red wine reduction that packed a punch and stood up to strong flavors. I had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, dense and purple and grapey, and that was what I went with.

I had this for dinner over some slow cooked pork rubs, mashed potatoes and peas. The flavor in the ribs that I was going for didn't work out too well but the sauce more than made up for it. It's tart and sweet and dense and rich and delicious all at the same time. Try it on steak, or ribs, or just on mashed potatoes if you're into that kind of thing (which I am, mashed potatoes peas and gravy is still my number one comfort food).

Red Wine Reduction

1 Cup Red Wine (Such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
1/4 Onion, diced (or two shallots)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
5 Peppercorns
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add in the onion. Cook until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the wine, peppercorns, and sugar. Grind in a little salt.

Simmer for about 30 minutes until reduced down to 1/3rd of the original liquid. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Take off the heat and strain. Add in the butter and stir to melt.

Pour over a plate of meat and potatoes. Feel snazzy. Relish in the deep purple color.

Makes 2 servings.


  1. does most of the alcohol cook off? you know me...

  2. Yes, it does. You're simmering for a good 30 minutes which is plenty of time.


    Just for y'all's information. The harsh tang of ethanol may disappear quickly, but much of the alcohol itself will stick around for most preparations. Using the chart from the website (30 minutes simmered and stirred=35% of original alcohol content remaining) and using an assumed 14% alcohol content (cabernet sauvignon runs between 12 and 15% or so), you're looking at about 1/3 of a cup of liquid that's still approximately 4% alcohol-by-volume. That's around the percent ABV of many beers.

    Again, this is according to that page, but it is supported by several sources (linked at the bottom of the article). And since you're just using it as a sauce, if you can handle the equivalent of a small sip of beer as part of your meal, it's fine.

    If you can't, and there are many reasons you might not, well...

  4. Love the flavour combination in this sauce - it's a great way to finish off so many types of dishes!