Madeira can last practically forever without any refrigeration. At higher prices, this fortified wine is sold by vintage and grape variety, in varying degrees of complexity and sweetness and is best saved for sipping. However, Madeira labeled “rainwater” can be perfect for cooking.
Rainwater Madeira is produced in larger quantities than vintage bottlings. It’s significantly lower in price, though still tasty enough to drink. Broadbent and Henriques & Henriques are good brands whose rainwater Madeira can be found for less than $20.
Rainwater Madeira is medium-dry with a nutty, oxidative edge that plays well with garlic and the earthy funk of mushrooms. Serve this hearty sauce with risotto or eggs, or double the recipe and layer with béchamel, Parmigiano and sheets of pasta for an elegant vegetarian lasagna.
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup carrot, chopped
- ¼ cup celery, chopped
- ¼ cup white onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup Rainwater Madeira (can be substituted with Tawny Port)
- 10 sprigs parsley, chopped
Add mushrooms to dry pan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until liquid from mushrooms evaporates. Cook until almost dry. Remove mushrooms, and place in bowl.
In same pan over medium heat, add butter, and stir until melted. Add carrots, celery and onion, and cook until soft and beginning to brown. Return mushrooms to pan. Add garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.
Remove pan from heat, and allow to cool briefly. Add Madeira. Stir and return mixture to rolling boil. Cook until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes, or until alcohol can no longer be smelled.
Add ¼–½ cup water, depending on desired thickness. Add salt, if necessary. Stir in chopped parsley, and serve. Serves 2–3 as side dish or sauce.