How to Make Red Wine Reduction Sauce

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A red wine reduction sauce gives a rich finish to any dish. You make it by sautéing vegetables in oil, adding the wine and stock, and then boiling the liquid down until it is reduced by at least three-quarters. You can then serve the reduction as-is, or further embellish it before pouring it over a steak.

How to Make Red Wine Reduction Sauce
(Santy Gibson/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery with leaves, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 qt. beef or veal stock
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine—cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, or shiraz
  • A large (at least 8 qt.) pot with a heavy bottom—either stainless steel or porcelain enamel over cast iron, not aluminum
  • A sieve for straining the reduction
  • A 2 qt. mixing bowl
  • Salt and pepper
  • Up to 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)
  • Sautéed mushrooms (optional)
Step 1

Heat the oil over medium heat in the pot. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté until the shallot is transparent and the rest are softened. Pour the stock and wine into the pot and bring the mixture to a moderate simmer. Turn the heat down, but be sure the liquid continues to simmer gently.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 2

Cook the liquid until it’s been reduced by about half.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 3

Strain the liquid into a clean mixing bowl. Discard the vegetables. Wash the pot, put it back on the stove, and pour the strained liquid back into it.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 4

Heat the liquid till it begins to simmer. Reduce it by half, until you have about 2 cups altogether.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 5

Taste the sauce for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 6

Serve the sauce as-is, or enrich it by swirling in a tablespoon or two of unsalted butter. If you like, you can also stir in some sautéed mushrooms.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • Red wine reduction sauce is a natural partner to grilled or roasted red meats (including duck), but you also can team it with roasted wild salmon for an unusual taste combination.
  • Buy a high-quality wine that is good enough to drink on its own. There are many decent, drinkable bottles available for $10 or less.
  • Red wine reduction isn’t difficult to make, but it does take some time, so plan accordingly.

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