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05/04/2011

~ Apricot-Mustard Sauce: For Dipping or Drizzling ~

PICT2306 In the late 1970's, two women, Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins opened a small food shop in Manhattan named:  The Silver Palate.  For that period in history, they had an extremely unique concept:  gourmet take-out meals, for all courses and all occasions.  Their shop met with rave reviews and national acclaim, which was followed by The Silver Palate Cookbook, then a second book, The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook.  A line of specialty food products was then marketed to, and found in, gourmet food shops across America, which made it possible for all of us cooks to enhance our own food using their condiments and sauces.  

PICT2243 One of their products, Apricot-Mustard Sauce, was always a staple in my pantry.  There was a time, back in the early '90's (a pre-internet time in my life), when I ordered this sauce by the case, via The Country Sampler, a small cooking store that used to be located right here in my now hometown of Boalsburg.  Everyone in our family, except for my son Jess who does not like fruit, adored it.  As the years went by, The Country Sampler closed it doors, my kids grew up and moved away, and I found myself ordering it a few bottles at a time over the internet a couple of times a year.  This fruity, sweet and savory sauce is fantastic on grilled chicken breasts, pork or veal chops, as well as baked acorn or butternut squash and sweet potatoes.  I'm about to give you my recipe for duplicating this sauce at home, but I am not telling you not to buy it because it is indeed wonderful!  

About five years ago, Joe and I had very close friends coming to visit from San Diego, CA.  Sue mentioned that she would love it if I would make that "grilled chicken with the fruit sauce that I love so much".  I knew exactly what she was talking about, but unfortunately my "cupboard was bare" and I only had about half a bottle of the sauce in my refrigerator.  

The good news:  I had been dabbling around in recipe development for a few years by then and was getting rather good at developing/imitating recipes based upon the ingredients listed on the labels of bottles, boxes or cans.  In the case of this sauce's label, the obvious ingredients were provided, but I was left to my own devices when I got to "spices" on the list. What I came up with is extremely close in taste and texture to theirs, but I did "tweek" it to suit my own palate.  My husband Joe said he liked it even better than theirs and that was just the critique I was looking for to stop buying it!

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1  12-13-ounce jar apricot preserves, the best available

1/2  cup Dijon mustard

1/4  cup honey

2  tablespoons apple juice

2  tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4  cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar

1  tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4  teaspoon ground ginger

1/4  teaspoon ground mace

1/4  teaspoon dry English mustard

1/8  teaspoon ground allspice

1/8  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8  teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8  teaspoon fine sea salt

PICT2215 ~ Step 1.  Measure and place all ingredients, as listed, in a 3-quart saucier.  If you don't have a saucier use a 2-3-4-quart saucepan.  

What is a saucier (sauce-ee-ay)?

Sauces are liquids that usually require a good deal of whisking and often reduction.  Whisking is tough if you are trying to maneuver around the corners of a traditional stockpot or chef's pan w/straight deep sides.

In French cooking, a saucier is the title of a chef who devotes his or her career to making sauces.  The French also came up with a vessel, of the same name, to make whisking easy:  a shallow, wide-bottomed pot with rounded sides.  Reduction is quicker and easier because of the larger surface area, as:  the larger the surface area, the faster the liquid evaporates.  The saucier I am using is stainless steel with a cooper core, is made by Anolon and I just love it!

PICT2221 ~ Step 2.  Place the saucier over low heat.  Using a large spoon, stir constantly, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the apricot preserves and sugars are melted.

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~ Step 3.  Adjust the heat to medium-high to simmer vigorously, whisking constantly to avoid scorching or boiling over, for exactly 3 minutes.  Sauce will be nicely thickened.  Remove from heat, cover and allow to cool for about 1 hour prior to serving warm.

Brush sauce onto grilled poultry, meat or vegetables just before removing food from the grill.  Serve additional warmed sauce at tableside for dipping or drizzling!

While this sauce is regal enough to be served at a fancy dinner party to accompany an elegant scaloppine of veal, my all-time favorite Summertime meal is: apricot-mustard sauce on grilled chicken breasts with grilled Vidalia onion slices, small garden tomatoes and grill-baked sweet potatoes!!!

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Apricot-Mustard Sauce:  For Dipping or Drizzling:  Recipe yields 2 cups.

Special Equipment List:  3-quart saucier w/lid, or a 2-3-4-quart saucepan w/lid; large spoon; whisk

Cook's Note:  Transfer cooled sauce to a food storage container, cover and refrigerate indefinitely.  Reheat prior to serving by placing the container in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stopping to stir about every 30 seconds.  This sauce freezes well too, so don't be afraid to save some time:  make a big batch and portion it into small containers to have on hand all the time!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)

Comments

Michele! If I do say so myself, this recipe is "a keeper" -- you're going to love it!

Thank you so much for this recipe! I love it like you do. It's hard for me to find the bottled version where I live, so I am happy to know I can make it myself.

Can't wait to try your recipe :)

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