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Use Booze: A Port Reduction to Adult-It-Up

Chicken thigh brushed with a simple port reduction and then roasted. Served with a drizzle of the reduction, cheddar-garlic-mash and greens.

My little J is not interested in sauces:

  • He does not want any liquid to touch his food (except maple syrup, which he will use to drench anything, even broccoli!).
  • He does not like dips (unless he’s dipping his  fingers in ketchup and then putting them in his mouth for a suck).
  • Any kind of stew or braise gets a full-body pout and the request, ‘Wash my food off please, Mommy.”

I therefore don’t worry about putting a tiny bit of wine into our stews and sauces. Most of the alcohol will boil away and what’s left is unlikely to get near J’s mouth.

What I avoid feeding him are the intensely boozy sauces (not that he would ever seriously consider sampling them anyways).

The good news: These don’t ever touch his food because they’re made separately from the rest of the meal.

The better news: That leaves more for us!

Follow this great guide to making quick and/or classic pan sauces from The Reluctant Gourmet. Or, try my “recipe” below for an easy port reduction.

I hesitate to call this a recipe since it only contains one ingredient. But it has so many uses that I just had to share it with you.

Port Reduction

Printer-Friendly Recipe

Serves 4 as a sauce

It’s a bit like reduced balsamic vinegar but sweeter, richer, deeper and less acidic. Try a little smear on your plate under some roasted chicken or drizzle a bit over a blue-cheese-topped steak. Speaking of cheese, a tiny bit of this sauce brushed inside a grilled cheese sandwich (cheese: a combo of blue and brie) is nearly as good as mixing a bit with walnut oil on a plate and serving it as a dip for crusty bread served with chunks of cheese. (OMG! I just imagined a grilled cheese sandwich with walnut oil as the fat on the outside and this port sauce on the inside. I feel another post brewing!)

Measure the port into a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Swirl in between answering “whys” and saying “Stop that! You might hurt yourself”  for 10-15 minutes, until about 1/4 cup remains. Use immediately as a sauce or drizzle or allow it to cool in the pan where it will thicken a bit more. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

For the chicken pictured way up top and down below: The skin of each thigh was brushed lightly with the port reduction before roasting at 400ºF for 40 minutes, or until skin is between the color of a pine cone and a piece of bitter chocolate and the flesh is no longer pink inside.


Check out the other posts in my Series: Kid-Friendly Fare with Adult-Friendly Flare:




9 Responses to “Use Booze: A Port Reduction to Adult-It-Up”
  1. What a great tutorial, and the pictures are divine! It was nice meeting you over the weekend, keep up this awesome site.

  2. Binky says:

    Yummmm! First of all, I never know what to do when people give us port wine as a gift. (It’s not as chuggable as other wines.) I’m so glad to see a use for it on chicken, especially thighs. I also love a moist, tender chicken thigh and the crispy skin after roasting! Thanks for sharing the recipe. ^_^

    • Christine says:

      You’re welcome, Binky. You’re right that port is a tricky bottle to get through. You can only have a few sips per serving if you’re drinking it. Anything more is a bit overwhelming. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Katerina says:

    Congratulations on your new site! It looks beautiful. I have already changed your url and became a follower to this one as well. I love port wine and I love to cook with it. This pork looks delicious!

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