Country Cacciatore Red Wine Sauce

Sauces, while really not all that difficult to make from scratch, often intimidate even the most experienced home cook. Perhaps it’s because the store shelves are stocked with every kind of bottled or canned sauce you can imagine, tricking us into thinking that we could never come up with anything so creative. Sadly though, when you look closely, most commercially available sauces are made from high fructose corn syrup, an artificial flavoring or two, and a good dose of salt, all topped off with chemical preservatives. I worked very hard to overcome those limitations when I ran our specialty food business, Wine Barrel Gourmet and designed four different red wine sauces. Country Cacciatore Red Wine Sauce was one of the most popular. It’s quick, easy, elegant, and a great Mediterranean style addition to your table. But first, here’s the background:

Last summer we stopped producing our Wine Barrel Gourmet Red Wine mixes. Since then I have been fielding numerous calls and responding to emails and letters from disappointed customers. The requests have been so prolific that I promised to post the recipes so everyone can re-create our recipes at home. (Note – this isn’t the exact sauce mix recipe, since the packaged mixes included several dried ingredients that aren’t easily available to home cooks – but it’s close. Update:  Wine Barrel Gourmet has been purchased and its products should be available again soon.)


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small tomato (optional)

Saute the garlic, shallot, and celery in 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil until tender but not browned. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced or slightly thickened. Total cooking time approx. 20 minutes.

Country Cacciatore Red Wine Sauce can be served as is over grilled chicken or beef, or roasted vegetables. It can also be used to add flavor to homemade marinara sauce or as a base for Chicken Cacciatore, Lasagna, Beef Stew or Eggplant Parmesan. I made a delicious Cheesy Eggplant Bake the other night with this red wine sauce. Look for the post coming later this week!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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