So you opened a bottle of Cab Sav last week, enjoyed a glass or two then forgot about it. Or maybe you had a few people over, each leaving a pathetically near-empty bottle of wine in their wake.

What you have on your hands is wine that’s either too old or too little to drink (enjoyably). Rather than throwing it away (blasphemous!) why not use it to enhance some of your favourite dishes? Here are five easy ideas from Jimmy that don’t include Spaghetti Bolognaise, because duh.

Here we go then.

1. Marinade red meat overnight

We already know you like wine. Do you like garlic? Good. Great! Just take the red meat of your choosing and marinade it in red wine (a richer drop like a Merlot works well), some crushed garlic, salt and pepper overnight. Cook to your liking and pair with a glass of (fresh) red wine for the full experience. Almost easier than ordering a pizza.

2. Try this lentil and chorizo stew

Ah Chorizo — the sausage’s fancier, spicier cousin. Ever tried it with lentils? Well, you simply must. This recipe brings in a third, zesty ingredient: the orange, and combined with a cup of dry red like Pinot Noir, makes for a highly flavourful, layered dish.

3. Bake (the adult version of) chocolate cake

…it’s pretty much as easy at is sounds. Take your favourite cake or muffin recipe. Bake as normal. Eject from the oven and cool—nothing crazy so far. You still with us? Excellent. Top with a rich, decadent,
red-wine infused icing recipe, such as the 4-ingredient one featured here. 

4. Make a hearty 5-ingredient chicken dish

Fry chicken in a lightly oiled pan. Add some stock, sliced onions, a dash of red, rosemary and garlic. Simmer for 15 and serve with rice. Now this is the kind of simplicity (and resourcefulness) we can get around.

5. …or a 6-ingredient risotto dish

Risottos are notoriously irritating to produce. All that stirring. Thing is, this one uses only 6 ingredients (including a confident Merlot), and there’s probably an important podcast you can catch up on while you stir, no?  

One last thing to note: Keep it classy. Yeah, the very existence of cooking wine suggests it belongs in food… but cooking wines are often cheap, filled with extraneous sugars and salts and have the potential to spoil an otherwise lovely dish. Rule of thumb—if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.

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