Would you be surprised to learn that Scrooge himself may have been the very reason for the spiced wines of the season and solidifying it as a holiday staple?
In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Scrooge, once he began wishing others a Merry Christmas and found his way to his holiday heart, promised a man named Bob to raise his salary, assist his struggling family and discuss it all over a “Christmas bowl of Smoking Bishop.”
Smoking Bishop, of course, was the mulled wine of the time (a clove and orange-infused port punch, warmed and mulled with baking spices and fortified with red wine), or our spiced wine of today.
At The Williamsburg Winery, the season for breaking out our signature Jamestown Cellars Settlers' Spiced Wine – our Smoking Bishop, if you will – is an exciting one.
It signals the start of the holiday season.
Its smell adds warmth to any room.
And its uses are many – well beyond just serving warm in a mug.
This season, The Williamsburg Winery’s Chef David McClure shares his top five ways to use spiced wine – from sipping to baking, braising and glazing.
1: Traditional Warm Spiced Wine
The Williamsburg Winery's Settler's Spiced Wine is based on a 400-year-old recipe used by the early English settlers. When it comes to outlining the best ways to use it in your kitchen this season, we must start with tradition and this Traditional Warm Spiced Wine Recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Here’s what you’ll do:
Combine all ingredients and warm in a slow cooker on high until “coffee” hot. Turn slow cooker down to keep warm. Do not boil. Ladle into cups and serve (this recipe serves four to six). Garnish with cinnamon stick and/or orange wheels.
2: Poached Apples or Pears
Want to up the ante on your appetizer or cheese plate?
Add spiced wine poached apples or pears.
The process couldn’t be simpler.
Pop a bottle of spiced wine, pour into a pan (or save a little sip for yourself) and bring to a simmer. While you’re waiting for the spiced wine to come to a boil, peal your apples and/or pears. Keep them whole. Do not dice.
Drop whole fruit into the simmering spiced wine for eight to 10 minutes.
Remove, cool, cut and serve on a platter with your favorite soft cheese.
The spiced wine poached fruits also work well in a tart/pie or in a salad.
3: Spiced Wine Braised Chicken
Turkey may rule the day on Thanksgiving, but throughout the fall and winter, a filling Sunday supper with friends and family calls for something special – and easy (because of course you want to spend more time with loved ones than in the kitchen)!
Rev up a Sunday chicken supper with spiced wine with this simple braising approach.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
Fresh herbs to taste (parsley, thyme, rosemary)
Extra spices to taste (spoon full of cloves and cinnamon)
Here’s what you’ll do.
Prepare your ingredients (chop the veggies, clean the chicken).
In a large oven-safe pot, place seared chicken.
Add in the carrots, onions, celery and herbs.
Add equal parts water and spiced wine – enough to submerge the chicken.
Cover and bake at 375 degrees for about two hours and 15 minutes.
Once it comes out of the oven, while you let it cool, get ready for spiced wine use number four.
4: Spiced Wine Sauce
All that liquid that the chicken was cooking in above? Remove it from the pan and strain it.
Add to a medium sauce pan and simmer until it reduces by half.
Add in heavy cream until the liquid thickens. Simmer again until it reduces by half.
Season to taste.
5: Spiced Wine Cake Glaze
Need something for dessert that is a little bit homemade and a little bit out of the box?
Try topping a cake with a special spiced wine glaze.
First, buy your favorite box cake mix – vanilla or chocolate.
Bake per the box instructions and set aside.
Pour half a bottle of spiced wine – or maybe the whole bottle, depending on how much you need – and simmer until it reduces by about three-quarters.
Add a full cup of sugar into the simmering wine and stir until it dissolves and the liquid takes on a syrupy consistency.
Remove from the stove and baste the cake you just finished with the syrup.
Save a little of the syrup on the side in the sauce pan and add in some dried fruit – think cherries, figs and apricots. Return to the stove and cook the fruit down a bit more in the same syrupy liquid. Top the cake with the fruit.