If you have any leftover wine, that is.
Credit: Greg DuPree

Let’s be honest: we all need to be a little better about repurposing our leftovers. Whether it’s a holiday ham or just a bunch of mashed potatoes, sometimes it’s a struggle to find something creative and yummy to do with what’s left behind after a big gathering or dinner.

A friend recently to ask me (an ex-bartender) a question: What could she do with about a third of a bottle of red wine? I was about to parrot the ubiquitous “sangria solution” that’s usually recommended for leftover wine, but then I realized what makes sangria delicious is fruit and brandy and, above all, time for all of the flavors to meld. If you don’t have time, your sangria will require additional sugar or liquor to make it delicious—and wouldn’t you rather save your calories for something, you know, good? Sangria also doesn’t lend itself to making one or two portions—there’s a reason it’s a perfect party drink.

Additionally, my friend doesn’t really even like red wine; it was truly a leftover from a dinner party. So, with that in mind, here are a few ways to use up a small quantity of red wine that have nothing whatsoever to do with sangria.

Got about a half cup of wine? Then you’ve got the beginning of a killer pan sauce. We love this cherry-red wine sauce. Start with sauteed pork medallions; the rich drippings from the cooked pork, combined with a scoop of cherry preserves and fresh herbs, will make you glad your Aunt Linda didn’t finish that bottle you got her.

If you’re not into a cherry pan sauce, you could also use a half cup of red wine for a rich mushroom sauce that will bring full-bodied flavor to a tenderloin of beef, a seared pork chop, or even spooned onto a baked potato with cheese.

If you’ve got about a cup, go ahead and get cheffy with it! Make a red wine reduction with this easy guide. It’s heavenly drizzled over seared steak or pork. Don’t want to use it right away? Freeze the reduction in ice cube trays until you need a pop of flavor, then swirl it in to enrich a sauce or add depth of flavor to a stew.

Now, if your leftover wine bounty is around two cups, we’ve got a killer marinade for you. You’ll reduce the wine a bit; adding in aromatics while it reduces. It will produce an outrageously flavorful bath for steak to soak in—the final product is succulent and stunning. Bookmark this one for grilling season.

Do you really only have a tiny amount of red wine? Well, we’ve got a recipe for that, too! Anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth will know what a delicious end to a meal poached fruit can be. Three tablespoons of red wine will get you fragrant, richly-spiced poached pears.

So no, you really don’t have to resort to sad, slapdash sangria if your boss didn’t drink the bottle of wine you got for him. You’ve got better things to do.