Friday, December 5, 2008

Red & White Wine Jams

There are sometimes when a bottle or bottles of wine are not finished in my apartment. This is rare, but after a big party there tends to be a few bottles of red left over that no one drinks and would otherwise go bad. I usually freeze the wine and use it for cooking in some vague future. That stockpile of frozen wine has built up. Thus these wine jams.

Wine and cheese, butter and popcorn, lamb and rosemary…these are a few of the iconic examples of ‘flavor pairings’; spices, libations or food combinations that enhance each other dramatically. You can pair almost any cheese with any kind of fruit preserve and its good! These jams just make it better.

Sauvignon Blanc, Chamomile & Pear Jam

Yield: 12 ozs.

5 Bosc Pears
1 ½ Bottles of White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Gew├╝rztraminer, Riesling)
½ Tbls Whole Coriander Seeds*
1 Tbls Whole Cardamom Pods
½ Vanilla Pod
½ Cup of Sugar
2 small Bay Leaves
1 Tbls Loose Chamomile Tea

1. Peel Pears and core. Coarsely chop and put into a small empty boiling pot.
2. Pour in the wine/s (you can use a blend of these 3 wines or just one varietal. I only used sauvignon blanc and it turned out great.). Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape the interior. Add the pod and scrapings into the wine and pears. Now put the stove on medium heat.
3. Shell the cardamom pods and crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle. Reserve.
4. Bouquet Garni: In a cheesecloth combine chamomile, bay leaves and cardamom pods. Secure the bouquet garni and add to the wine and pears.
5. Add the whole coriander plus the crushed cardamom seeds. Crank up the heat. Reduce by half.
6. After the pear/wine mixture is reduced by half, add ½ cup of sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon. At this point you should taste the jam. It maybe too tart, add more sugar. If you find that too much liquid is left in the pot AFTER you have added the sugar, reduce further. Add more sugar until the sweetness you desire is reached.
7. Chill and place in a jar

*I left the coriander seeds whole because once they cook for so long they soften up. Biting into a softened coriander seed with the pears is delicious. Plus it looks good in the jam. If it’s not your idea of ‘good’ then just grind it up in a mortar and pestle.

Pair this jam with a sheep’s milk Parmesan, Manchego or Gouda. Works well with roasted pork, Seared Wild Striped Bass or Black Cod or simply on toast in the morning.

Zinfandel, Herbs de Provence & Mixed berry Jam

Yield: 1 Quart
Time: 45 minutes-1 Hour

1 ½ Bottles of Zinfandel or Primitivo
½ Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
4 Containers of Blueberries*
2 Containers of Blackberries
½ Container of Raspberries
3 Tbls Herbs de Provence
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Cloves
½ Tbls Allspice
2 bay leaves

1. Rinse all the berries and place into a 5-quart pot
2. Pour the wine into the pot. Turn the flame up to med-high heat.
3. Bouquet garni: Cinnamon. Cloves and bay leaves. Drop this into the simmering wine and berries. Add the Herbs de Provence.
4. Crank up the heat and reduce by half. Add sugar. If the mixture is still loose cook down further and stir with a rubber spatula keeping an eye on the heat. Do not allow the bottom to burn.
5. At this stage taste the mixture. If it is too tart, add more sugar. Remove the bouquet garni.
6. Chill and jar.

*Blueberries have pectin in them which is a natural gelatin. However, I used one Tbls of Knox dissolved in warm water and added it to the mixture before I chilled it.

Pair this with a Chicken liver pate or your turkey leftovers or cheese or toast or…you get the idea.

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