How to use a dessert wine for something other than dessert… that was my latest challenge. Since Easter was right around the corner when I began pondering this idea, using James River Cellars’ Divino (made with 100% ice-pressed Chardonnel) dessert wine with my Easter Ham seemed to fit the bill.
I began with a full bottle of Divino and a saute’ pan. I poured the entire bottle into the saute’ pan and simmered it until it had reduced by half, stirring frequently. Once the Divino was thickened, I added a small pat of butter and a single turn of my salt mill and stirred it all together. I then allowed it to cool and poured it into a container to save until Easter Sunday.
Since I had purchased a fully cooked, spiral sliced ham at my local grocery store, I pulled it out of its wrappings and set the oven to a low temperature, about 250 degrees. Using the Divino glaze I had made, I basted the ham occasionally throughout the cooking time. You can see by the photo on the lower left that the ham already had some spices mixed in with the liquid in which it had been packaged, so that simply added another layer of flavor to this meat.
I did pop the temperature up to 350 degrees to cook the remaining items of our dinner, so after warming for an hour at the lower temperature, this ham was then “toasted” a bit at the higher temperature before pulling it out for serving.
In the end, it looked exactly as it does in the lower right photo when I took it out of the oven for serving… falling off the bone, sweetened and spiced just perfectly. The edges were crispy and tinged with a citrus-y sweet tang from the Divino.
We loved it and will probably end up using this for the coming years, since no one in my house wants to “mess with perfection”. I hope you’ll consider trying dessert wines in different and unconventional ways as you find new wines you enjoy. There are NO Wine Police, so no one says you have to simply drink your wine… right?