Wine Sauces: let's prepare delicious red wine jus and a white wine sauce!

Posted on 09 November, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 0 comments

Red wine jus and white wine sauce: recipes, how to and more on wine sauces

In this Lifestyle tit-bit post we focus on using wine in cooking.

  • How to prepare a wine sauce, be it a red wine jus or a white wine sauce?
  • Is there a difference between expensive wine used for cooking or a cheap one?
  • Are there rules how to prepare red wine jus or white wine sauce?
  • Can you match different wines with your food?

All these questions are outlined below, so let’s go to explore.

Why to use wine in cooking?

Wine is an acidic product that helps to tenderise meat, impart some flavour or even constitute an ultimate part of your dish. You can use it to marinade meats, sprinkle it over fish that is being cooked, use to poach pears in red wine or create flavour sensations of beef bourguignon.

If you boil your wine it will lose the alcoholic strength so there is no chance you couldn’t drive after such a meal. 

Do you need to use the same wine for drinking and for cooking the meal?

No, but there is a but. Some examples of dishes, i.e. above mentioned beef bourguignon, are made to be matched with the local wines, not necessarily the same same, but you can opt for a better quality Burgundian Pinot Noir. 

It doesn’t mean though that you need to choose the lowest quality wine for cooking - some low quality wines are so rich with preservatives, flavour enhancers and other artificial nasty stuff, you need to avoid them at all cost. 

In general, we sometimes buy a bottle of wine and not feeling like we totally like the taste. Keep that bottle for cooking. You won’t need to store it any different - have it handy in your cupboard.

Red wine jus recipe

red wine jus recipe

You will need the following ingredients to prepare this jus for a dozen of people to have plenty:

  • 300 ml red wine
  • 100 ml port wine;
  • 850 ml really good beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 chopped shallots
  • tablespoon of chopped rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Just a comment on port: if you do not have it or do not like sweet fortified wines then simply opt for a more full bodied red and use 400 ml of it for the recipe.

Now how you do it:

  • Caramelise your shallots quickly until they are golden, but not in any way burnt or close it that state. Failing to watch your shallots well will mean your jus will have an unpleasant charry notes.
  • Pour port and add herbs.
  • Simmer this until approximately half of the liquid evaporated.
  • It is time now to do the same with the remaining wine and stock. Make sure you have enough capacity to pour all your wine and stock and then let it simmer to be reduced in half. 
  • By this time you will have a very rich and flavoursome jus. It is just slightly thinner than what you can call a sauce. 
  • Finish your prep by adding butter and seasoning. This addition of butter will make your jus more glossy, it will coat your dish with a pleasant colour and you will taste a richer mouthfeel.

Top tip: people sometimes underestimate how quickly it can be reduced by half, so start early on the day or make your prep in advance (you can then freeze some portions of your jus to be used later on).

White wine sauce recipe

white wine sauce recipe: use it for chicken in white wine sauce and more

We keep the same quantities here - prepping this white wine sauce for about 12 people to have it plenty.

You will need: 

  • 60 g butter
  • 700 ml white wine
  • 400 ml double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard
  • 5 medium sized shallots
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 small lemon
  • black pepper and salt for seasoning

Note on the mustard and herbs: you can make this sauce really exciting every time you prepare it. Simply choose Dijon mustard for a more delicate sauce or English for a more spicy one, add oregano, parsley, basil to the sauce if you want different flavours from the herbs.

So what do you need to do:

  • Melt butter and soften your chopped shallots together with thyme. No colour is needed, so again, watch your shallots carefully.
  • Add your wine there and reduce by half on a medium to high heat. It will reduce quicker than stock, so you are looking at 20 minutes approximately, but depends on what you are using - a more shallow and larger pot will make it reduce quicker.
  • When you see that your wine is reduced accordingly, add cream and mustard. Stir well so it has a uniform consistency.
  • Season your sauce with lemon juice and black pepper. If your butter was not salty you may want to add some salt too.

The only difference with these recipes is that you should prepare white wine sauce just before serving. It is not very good for freezing and reheating as components might separate and it will look quite terrible actually.

Get your creative juices flowing and experiment to get the jus, sauce or gravy how you like!

Variations of the recipes: simply adjust the ingredients to make your sauce thicker and more like a gravy or delicately thinner like a jus. You can then play with it and use it to create a beef casserole with red wine, chicken in white wine sauce, red wine gravy that is to great for roasts and celebratory dinners. You can use a mixture of flour and water to thicken your sauce or gravy, for gluten free option you can opt to use arrowroot - a natural plant based thickening agent. As a general note, it is easier to thicken your sauce without much compromise to flavour, than than trying to dilute a thick sauce with water, wine or stock to make it as a jus as it also reduces flavour concentration. 

Finally, some quick suggestions on inexpensive organic wines that you can use to create fantastic sauces with no added pesticides in your wines. Cheers 

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