Dried Cherry Gastrique

04aPorkCherryGastriquebfLOToday’s post is about making a gastrique; caramellized sugar with vinegar (usually) used as a base for a sauce. The perfectly yummy pork tenderloin tips shown in the pic will be tomorrow’s post.

For today, it’s all about the sauce.

I saw a chef making a gastrique in some cooking competition or another on the Food Network, and thought it looked as though it might could be a good recipe to have on hand. Turns out I was right.

01aCherryWinebfLOInstead of using vinegar in my gastrique, I opted to use this bottle of cherry wine we’d picked up in Door County for just this purpose. Feel free to use any vinegar you like, and play around with the flavors; I liked the dried cherries with the cherry wine, but you could easily make this into an orange or lemon or basil or whatever gastrique to go with any number of dishes from duck to lamb.

•1/2 cup sugar
•2 tbsp water
•1/2 cup cherry wine
•1 tbsp cherry wine
•1 clove garlic, minced
•1/3 cup dried cherries
•1/2 tsp dried thyme
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*

01bSugarWaterWinebfLO*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No problem! Just substitute any (and as much) flavor enhancing condiment you have on hand; hot sauce, or Worcestershire, or Thai chili sauce, even a bit of mustard, would all work.

Melt the sugar with the water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.

Continue to cook without stirring until the liquid reaches a light blond caramel color, mebbe five to eight minutes, swirling gently to help the mixture cook evenly.

01eCherryGastriquebfLOAdd 1/2 cup of the wine all at once, along with the garlic. The sugar will kind of solidify, but don’t fret and keep stirring.

Continue to cook for another three minutes, until sugar is re-dissolved.

Add the tablespoon of wine to pan and cook for another two to three minutes, until the mixture is slightly syrupy.

04bPorkRisottoRicebfLOAdd the dried cherries, thyme, and Sherry Peppers Sauce (or whatever you decide to use) and cook until the cherries have broken down slightly and the gastrique is the texture of light maple syrup.

Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Very tasty with that pork tenderloin, with green beans and baked dried cherry risotto on the side.

Check out the pork, tomorrow, and the risotto, Thursday, just in time for you to gather everything together to make a truly tasty weekend dinner.

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