July 3, 2013

Think about the sauce when doing the drink pairings

If you do, it’ll take you far beyond the red-meat, red-wine way of thinking.

By J.M. HIRSCH The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Clockwise from top, recado rojo, tangy apricot barbecue sauce and balsamic strawberry jalapeno barbecue sauce.

The Associated Press

In this case, both means a strawberry-basil gimlet (muddle 2 strawberries and some fresh basil then shake over ice with 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of lime juice and 1/2 ounce simple syrup) and his own recipe for Road to Rosarita, his version of a strawberry margarita (2 ounces Ranchero tequila, 1/2 ounce simple syrup and 1 ounce strawberry juice, shaken with ice and double strained into a glass rimmed with chili powder, salt and crushed freeze-dried strawberries).

 

TANGY APRICOT BARBECUE SAUCE

This tangy-sweet barbecue sauce is just right for grilled chicken breasts, turkey burgers or salmon steaks. If you can't find fresh apricots, substitute frozen apricots.

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Makes: 3 cups

3 large apricots, pitted and chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3/4 cup (6 ounces) pineapple juice

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium-high, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the onions are tender and the apricot chunks begin to break down, about 10 minutes Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to the saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced by a quarter. Transfer to a bowl and use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to a week.

 

RECADO ROJO

This rich, red paste is a classic seasoning in Mexico and Central America. It gets its bold color from achiote seeds (also called annatto) and deep flavor from blend of oregano, ancho chili powder and cumin. Use it on chicken, fish, pork or even stirred into stews.

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Makes: 1 cup

2 tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon molasses

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch salt

In a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, combine the achiote, cumin, oregano, chili powder, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and peppercorns. Toast, stirring constantly, until just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind until reduced to a fine powder. Transfer to a food processor or blender and add the onion, garlic, orange juice, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar and salt. Process until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl and use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to a week.

 

BALSAMIC STRAWBERRY JALAPENO BARBECUE SAUCE

Heat and sweet combine beautifully in this barbecue sauce. And while it is wonderful on chicken or ribs, there's no need to stop there. A dollop of this and a slab of blue cheese can turn a basic burger into a truly transformative grilling experience. To tame the heat a bit, don't include the seeds or inner ribs of the jalapeno.

Start to finish: 1 hour

Makes: 11/2 cups

2 cups balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup strawberry jam

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 large shallot, minced

1/2 fresh jalapeno, chopped

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar and jam. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Stir in the tomato paste, shallots, jalapeno, mustard, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt.

 

J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at twitter.com/JM-Hirsch.

 

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