Cooking in Real Time: Using That Last Bit of Champagne

Use New Year's leftover Champagne to make some sweet treats for the kitchen.

What to do with that wonderful bubbly leftover from your celebrations? You hate to throw it out, but you just can't face another Champagne cocktail. Even if your Champagne has lost some of its fizz, you can use it in many ways, for recipes both sweet and savory. You won't taste the alcohol, but the Champagne flavor will really enhance the other flavors. 

Here are some ideas for you:

1. If you happen to have one of those little ice cream makers, pull that baby out and put it in your freezer. Then you can make sorbet with your leftover sweet Champagne and serve with fresh berries. I'm not normally a fan of out-of-season fruit flown in from heaven knows where, but Champagne and raspberries are pretty darn magical!

2. Treat Champagne as if it were chicken or beef stock. Add it to soups in the last half hour of cooking. Use it to make risotto or other, less time-consuming, rice dishes. Use Champagne and a smidge of honey in place of water to cook root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and beets.

3. Substitute sweet Champagne for the water in a cake mix recipe. This is especially good with strawberry cake.

4. Brut or extra-dry Champagne goes exceptionally well in seafood recipes. Simmer two pounds of fresh, thick-cut, firm fish, such as sea bass or salmon, in two cups of Brut or extra-dry Champagne for about five to ten minutes total. Remove the fish, bring the liquid to a boil and cook it down until you have about a half cup of liquid, for about five minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer, whisk in three-fourths of a cup of half-and-half. Serve immediately over the fish.  

5. Make Champagne vinaigrette! This recipe will give you about three-fourths of a cup of salad dressing, and it keeps a week or so in the fridge. Bring to room temperature and give it a good stir before using.

Champagne Vinaigrette

1/2 cup mild olive oil or grapeseed oil

1 - 2  Tbsp. rice wine vinegar or good quality white wine vinegar

1/4 cup Champagne

Pinch of salt and fresh-ground pepper 

Pour oil, Champagne and one tablespoon of vinegar into the blender. Blend a few moments and taste. Add additional vinegar as necessary, salt and pepper. Blend again and taste. Add a bit of white sugar or honey if necessary. Blend again and then serve over green salad. This is really good with butter lettuce or other soft greens.

6. And, for a sweet ending, make chocolate Champagne sauce. Bring a half of a cup of whipping cream or half-and-half almost to a boil. Remove from heat, add 8 ounces of high-quality semisweet chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Whisk in five tablespoons of Champagne. Serve warm over ice cream. On the off chance you have any sauce leftover, store in the fridge and reheat gently in the microwave.  

7. Even better, serve the warm Champagne chocolate sauce over bananas that you have split in half lengthwise and sauteed in a little butter and Champagne.

8. You can triple the sauce recipe and use for chocolate fondue—a sweet way to begin the new year!


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