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Monday, June 14, 2010

Cherry and Red Wine Sauce for beef

So, I've experimented a bit with this sauce and last night I think I may have simplified the method, and amplified the flavor of this incredible sauce. It takes only a couple of minutes of your time- simply put it in a pan, place it on the back burner, and it will simmer while you are cooking the rest of dinner. Pour this over steaks, London Broil, roasts maybe? It would probably be fine over pan roasted chicken, and even pork chops or tenderloin.

This recipe does call for Balsamic vinegar, easily found in your supermarket. It is not entirely necessary- the recipe will be survive without it. But, if you can afford to treat yourself to an aged balsamic, thick and syrup-like, you will find lots of uses for this (homemade salad dressings come to mind) and while a bit more expensive "a little goes a long way."

Last night I served this sauce over steaks, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, seared in a pan, and then broiled to a pastel-pink medium rare. It's so simple, and yet screams sophistication! But, it's not pretentious, just good. I think we could have had this while dressed in coveralls with paint splatters all over us, or all dressed up with candlelight and mood music. It's just plain GOOD. This recipe makes enough for four servings, and if there's left over, it keeps well in the fridge.

Cherry and Red Wine Sauce

1/2 C dried cherries, or 1 C fresh, pitted and halved
1 C red wine (maybe even one seen on Wine Library TV)
1-1/2 C beef broth/bouillon/stock
2 T balsamic vinegar (preferably aged, thicker balsamic- even flavored balsamic)
1-1/2 T red wine vinegar*
1 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Pan drippings from whatever meats are cooking!

* If you have no balsamic vinegar, double the amount of red wine vinegar. The recipe will be just fine without it.

1. Very simply, put cherries, balsamic and red wine vinegars and beef broth into a small sauce pan. Add freshly cracked pepper, at least a teaspoon. Do not add the salt yet.

2. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and place a cover onto the pan askew so that some of the steam can escape. The rate of your simmer depends on how fast you need this sauce ready. Our goal here is to reduce the liquid in the pan by 1/2 its volume. During this time, stir occasionally, and mash the cherries a bit to release their juice to the pan.

3. Right before serving, turn off the heat. Strain the sauce to remove the cherries (press them in a strainer or sieve to get the sauce out of them), and put the sauce back in the pan. The cherries have done their job, and should be discarded. You can signal "Taps" if need be.

4. Add the butter and a bit of the pan drippings (if there are any- skim off the grease first), a good pinch of salt and stir in until the butter is melted. Taste for seasoning- it may need salt, but that depends more on the meat you are pouring this over. If the meat is heavily salted or seasoned, you may want to leave the salt out and let the combination of the meat and the sauce compliment each other.

5. Sit down and enjoy, of course! It's so simple, and adds that little "something" to your meal.

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