Sauced Figs: A Way to Use Old Wine

I love wine—I drink a glass almost every night—but I have a hard time finishing an entire bottle. And after a few days, that luscious, inky petit syrah can taste a bit...well, off. So what's a girl to do with the dregs? Inspired by a package of dried figs I found in my cupboard and half a bottle of just-this-side-of-bad Sangiovese I had on the shelf, I emailed Marie Simmons (author of many cookbooks, including Fig Heaven, which is one of my tried-and-true, ingredients-splattered-across-the-page favorites) and asked her for some tips on how to poach dried fruits.

Her advice?

Throw the dried figs in a pot with a combination of water and wine. Add a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf. Simmer until the figs are plump and tender, adding more liquid as needed. Remove the figs, and set aside. Add sugar to the pot, and simmer until the wine mixture is thick. Toss the figs back in, and stir to coat. Fish out the cinnamon stick and the bay leaf, and there you have it: figs in spiced wine syrup.

I've found that measurements are irrelevant here; just use what you've got and improvise to suit your tastes as you go. The poached figs are divine stirred into yogurt, scooped over ice cream, or eaten straight from the container late at night in front of an open refrigerator. Plus, they make great gifts when spooned into jars and tied with a ribbon.

So the next time you can't quite kill that bottle, experiment. Dried strawberries in fizzed-out Champagne? Apricots in chardonnay? Plumbs in merlot? We would love to know what you come up with, as well as any other ideas you have for how to use up yesterday's wine.

About the author: Lucy Baker is a graduate student in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. Before returning to school to pursue an MFA, she was an assistant cookbook editor at HarperCollins. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently obsessed with all things fennel.

Photograph from foéÖþoooey on Flickr

Sauced Figs: A Way to Use Old Wine

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