Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recipe Box: Homemade Plum Sauce with Sweet Cherries

Homemade Plum Sauce with Sweet Cherries

This is a great combination of sweet-spicy-sour that has a much more nuanced flavor that the bottled plum sauce or restaurant version.  It’s also a great mid to late-summer dish using seasonal fruit.  The sauce can be made in large batches and refrigerated for at least 1 week, or canned for longer storage. 

The ginger and pepper both add heat, so you can adjust either one to taste.  The ginger adds a pleasant sort of  hot "buzz" while the pepper or chile oil brings a more direct kick to compliment the sweet fruit.  The cherries add tartness to tone down the sweetness of the plums.

Try it as a dipping sauce, a condiment for rice, a sauce for poultry, fish or tofu, or a barbecue glaze (add only in last ten minutes of grilling because the sugars can scorch easily).

First Step:
2 medium very ripe plums, pitted and coarsely chopped
6-8 ripe sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup tightly packed brown sugar
2 cups water

Combine in medium saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat, scraping bottom, until lightly boiling.
Turn down heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
Uncover and stir for an additional 30 minutes

Second Step :
2 Tablespoons Tamari sauce (can substitute 3 Tablespoons soy sauce)
½ teaspoon powdered ginger or 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
½ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder or 2 teaspoons very finely minced onion
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili oil (or to taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (can substitute white or apple cider vinegar)

Add all to simmering mixture in saucepan and stir until well combined.  Gently simmer for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If sauce becomes too thick, add a small amount of water to thin.

If the mixture does not thicken on it’s own from the pectin in the fruit, mix 1 tablespoon corn or potato starch with 1 tablespoon cold water in a separate container.  Stir sauce while adding starch/water mix and simmer, stirring, until just thinner than you’d like.  Remove from heat (it will thicken further as it cools.)

Chicken and Rice in Plum Sauce

If you’ve made the plum sauce ahead of time, this is a great potluck contribution or meal for 4 that can be put together in about 30 minutes.  You can substitute grilled tofu for the chicken if you prefer a vegan option.

Brown 8 ounces of chicken until cooked through.  Shred with forks. 
Cook 4 cups of rice (2 cups raw rice, 2 cups water) in separate pot according to package directions
Combine the shredded chicken, cooked rice and 1-2 cups plum sauce in small crock pot.  Set on low to keep warm or serve immediately.

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