Healthy Cooking Thursday – Spiced Mulled Wine

By Chef Lisa on 12/02/2010
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Here it comes…that [family...office...neighborhood] party where [Aunt Millie...Diane from accounting...that busybody Rachel] always makes her famous egg nog. That famous and delicious egg nog that's chock full of fat and calories, in addition to too much rum. Yikes!

I don't know about you, but when I come across a great egg nog (or, to be completely honest, even a mediocre one), I have a hard time enjoying only one. So instead of reaching for a mug of that variety of cheer, I'll mix up a batch of this one. After all, the best path to healthy living (and weight management) involves making better choices, as opposed to missing out on all the fun and feeling deprived.

One of the best things about this recipe is how it fills a home with an out of this world aroma. The spicey-sweet scent is a quick way to bring on the holiday spirit, as well as make your guests drool as soon as they come to the door.  Another cool thing?  This recipe is very versatile.  If you are missing one ingredient, make it anyway.  Well, except for maybe the wine…although you can make a nice non-alcoholic version by avoiding the wine and brandy and using a gallon of apple cider instead.

Two important points; avoid bringing the wine to anything more than a gentle simmer, and only use whole spices.  If this comes to a boil, it will likely become bitter; ground spices will make the wine cloudy and less appealling.  This is a fantastic crock pot recipe, by the way!

Spiced Mulled Wine

Combine in a pot or crock pot and bring to a very gentle simmer:

Two 750 ml bottles of red wine

8 oz (1 cup) brandy (if you'd like your wine to be "fortified")

One orange, washed well and cut into 1/4 inch slices

Two cinnamon sticks

About 12 whole cloves

About 12 cardamom pods

Two star anise "stars"

If cooking on the stove top, simmer for a half an hour.  If using a crock pot, prepare the wine and heat for at least 2 hours before drinking.  What recipe do you prepare that makes your house filled with the aroma of the holidays?

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