Just So You Know, I Have Gastrique.

So I hope that you read that headline and immediately thought “OH NO!  GASTRIQUE!  What is that?” because you were genuinely concerned with my well being.  Maybe you thought I had some rare, incurable disease that would involve long hospital stays and experimental medical procedures.  Perhaps you were already planning what casseroles to bring me in my time of need.  A charitable fund may have been needed to be organized.

But I’m assuming that you didn’t think that.  I’m assuming what really happened is that you chuckled at my witty headline (or simply rolled your eyes) and thought to yourself that I was up to my usual nutty hijinks in the kitchen.

Good, because I just made this fruit and wine sauce.  No oxygen tent is necessary.

But really, what is gastrique?  Quite simply, it’s a strained sauce made of wine and vinegar and (usually) fruit.  It can be either sweet or savory as well.  There’s many variations on the basic gastrique which makes them quite interesting- you can use just about any fruit you like, the wine isn’t cast in stone and the vinegar is yours to choose.  Go nuts!  Generally speaking, it’s usually used on meat and seafood, but I swirled it on a plate for a root vegetable salad in lieu of a salad dressing.

So here’s a basic gastrique recipe.  Start getting that benefit concert organized!

Basic Gastrique

Ingredients:

-1 cup wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)

-1 cup vinegar (I used malt vinegar)

-1 1/2 to 2 cups fruit (I used dried cherries)

-8 tablespoons butter

-2-3 tablespoons sugar

-Salt

-Water, fruit juice, stock or additional vinegar IF NECESSARY

-Spices of your choice (e.g. cinnamon, pepper, etc.)

How To:

1. In a heavy bottomed saucepot, combine the wine, vinegar, fruit, butter, sugar, salt and (if using) spices.  Bring everything to a boil.

2. When everything comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 10-20 minutes until the fruit is cooked.  If using dried fruit, cook everything until the fruit is soft.

3. Cut the heat.  Check and adjust the seasoning.  Add the fruit to a food processor and a bit of the liquid from the pot.  I started with half of the liquid.

4. Puree.  Add more of the pot liquid as you go to thin the puree, but don’t use too much.  The desired consistency is like a thick soup.

5. When everything is smooth, strain the sauce through a fine sieve to remove any solids.  Check the seasoning again.  Discard the solids.

6. If the gastrique is too thick, it can be thinned with water, fruit juice, stock or vinegar.

Serve warm, the sauce thickens unattractively when its cold.

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