Got lots of leftover champagne? No worries, get cooking
From the beginning of December through Jan. 1 (or maybe 2nd or 3rd, depending on how fervently you party during the holidays) the pop of a champagne or sparkling wine cork is a welcome and frequent sound. Fizzy wine is just the most festive of all of the drinks, whether sipped straight up in a flute, or mixed into cocktails. And of course in most places a New Year’s Eve toast would feel incomplete without a glass of bubbles.
Whether you are quaffing French champagne this season, or prosecco from Italy, or cava from Spain, or something domestic and sparkly, you may end up with some left in a bottle or two. Sparkling wine corks are notoriously tough to jam back into the bottles, so if you have a wine stopper or other way to plug the opening, definitely do that as soon as you can, to hold on to as much effervescence as possible. Tuck those half full bottles into the fridge. And then… what?
The obvious must be stated — a mimosa (orange juice and sparkling wine) for a post-holiday late morning brunch drink is a lovely little bit of decadence, and should be considered.
You could also make it the base of a sangria the next day, maybe with some berries and berry liqueur, plus a touch of some sweetener. Or add it to some pureed sweetened fruit, like mangoes or peaches, for a bellini-type experience. It might not be quite as fizzy as it was the day or so before, but if you sealed up the bottle in a timely manner, it should be bubbly enough.
But maybe you’re cocktail-ed out. If your sparkling wine was dry (meaning not sweet), then you can use it pretty much as you would use any other leftover white wine in cooking. And if the bubbles have fizzled out, no worries at all — the fizziness would be lost in the cooking process anyway.
Sweeter champagne should be saved for drinks and dishes that have some sweetness already inherent in them. Zabaglione, an airy sweet pudding, is a dessert that is traditionally made with champagne, so if you have sweet champagne leftover, you might head in that direction.
Note that in cooking most of the alcohol burns out, but if you are adding it to an uncooked dish make sure there is no one with an alcohol sensitivity consuming it unaware.
Make a Pan Sauce:
You can use it to deglaze a pan, pouring it into the pan after you’ve sautéed your onions, garlic, and other aromatics to loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and beginning to build a pan sauce, with broth or some other liquid also added after the wine cooks and reduces for a bit.
You can also add cream, which is a lovely partner to sparkling wine or champagne, minced fresh herbs and other seasonings like mustard or olive tapenade or hot sauce. Use the sauce to drizzle over sautéed or chicken or pork or fish and seafood.
Replace half of the milk in your favorite crepe recipe with champagne. You can use dry or sweet sparkling wine here, depending on what type of crepe dish you are making. Dessert crepes can definitely be made with sweeter bubbly.
Use it instead of white wine in your favorite fondue or Welsh Rabbit recipe. A bit of white wine of some sort is very traditional in these European melted cheese dishes.
You can simmer some garlic and herbs and whatever other seasonings you like (tomatoes, fennel, saffron, etc.) in champagne, perhaps combined with a bit of broth or water, and then steam clams or mussels until they open. These can be eaten right from the shells, or used to make a seafood soup or stew, or pasta with mussels or clam sauce. The broth from steaming the shellfish should be strained and used in any recipe as well.
Add to Risotto:
When you start your risotto (any version), after you’ve sautéed the rice in the oil or butter, start adding liquid by pouring in ½ cup of so of sparkling wine. This will absorb quickly into the grains and give the finished dish yet another level of flavor. Then switch to broth, adding it slowly until the rice is plump and al dente, stirring frequently. You can also use sparkling wine to start off your farrotto, which is a modern take on risotto using farro.
Make a Vinaigrette:
A splash of wine can enhance the taste of a homemade vinaigrette, whether you are using it to dress a green salad, a vegetable salad ( such as a green bean salad ), a grain salad, and even better a French-style mayo-free potato salad. If your champagne is move than a week old, and has started to take on a slightly vinegar-y taste, then you can still use it in this way!
Add it to a Braise:
Again, make sure it’s not sweet and then think about adding a few glugs to dishes like braised chicken with mushrooms or pork chops with apples. Or use it in braised vegetable dishes, like braised cippolini or pearl onions or braised cabbage and radicchio.
Add it to Stews:
Champagne would be great in a chicken or fish stew, especially one with Mediterranean flavors. And even though many red meat or richer stews call for red wine, if it’s a small amount you can almost always sub in a dry white or sparkling wine. The wine adds a bit of flavor, but since alcohol elevates flavor in general, unless it’s a focal flavor of the final dish, the change won’t be all that noticeable. Use it in a lamb stew with orange and fennel, or a pork or beef stew with root vegetables.
Katie Workman writes regularly about food for The Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks focused on family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at Katie@themom100.com.