you can eat before they lose their allure (yes, even my favourite gravy-soaked trencher-style open faced one gets a bit old after a while). Then there's the ever-present question of veggies - as delicious as my lemon honey roasted carrots and Famous People's Carrots are, it's always nice to change them up a bit to keep them interesting!
Luckily, it's usually the simplest changes that make the biggest impact on a dish, and by whipping up a new sauce or glaze you can transform a basic ingredient. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar have been a hot pairing for a while, and a lot of the time it seems like something too fancy for a weeknight. I'll admit, I'm not going to whip this drizzly sauce (or "shellac" if you use it as a yummy baste!) at 6:30 on a Wednesday, but by making a jar of it on the weekend you have so many possibilities open to you for two or three weeks at a time! I found the original inspiration in my (well-loved) copy of Put 'em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton, and since making it once we've been finding all sorts of things to use it for - a "grown-up" ice cream sauce, a mix in for vanilla yoghurt, a brush-on glaze for chicken breasts, roasting root vegetables and salmon, even a condiment for leftover meat and rice! Even now, a small jar is on our fridge shelf for last minute ideas.
Keeping in mind the upcoming holidays, I made and canned a few extra jars over the summer when our local strawberries were at their peak (and cheap!) to tuck into my gift baskets. Since I have a few "household gourmets" on my list, I can't wait for the wide eyes on Christmas morning!
With all the strawberry goodness that goes into this sauce, it's my contribution to the Eating the Alphabet Recipe Challenge at Meal Planning Magic. We're up to S & T already, can you believe it?
Strawberry Balsamic Shellac
Makes about 1 ½ cups, 24 tbsp
2 lbs fresh, ripe strawberries, pureed
⅓ cup water
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup red wine (I used a dry Shiraz)
2 tbsp brandy (optional but nice)
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar (it doesn't have to be super expensive but try for a decently aged one)
generous pinch black pepper
¼ tsp sea salt
- Combine the berries and water in a saucepan and place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar, wine and brandy and return to a boil.
- Cook, stirring often, for 12 minutes.
- Place a fine strainer over a bowl and pour the cooked mixture through, discarding the solids.
- Return the strained mixture to the (clean) pot, stir in the vinegar, pepper and salt and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until it coats the back of a spoon.
- Process in a waterbath for 15 minutes.
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 14.2 mg
Total Carbs: 18.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 0.3 g