March 21, 2013

Vidalia Onion and Fig Sauce Reduction

In cooking, reduction is the process of thickening and intensifying the flavor of a liquid mixture such as a soup, sauce, wine, or juice by boiling. Reduction is performed by boiling liquid (whether stock, wine, whiskey, vinegar, or sauce mixture) rapidly and usually without a lid (enabling the vapor to escape more easily) until the volume desired is reached by evaporation.
1 cup chopped dried figs
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup port wine
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 large vidalia onion, sliced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
Touch of honey

Lots of steps but it is a great lesson on how to reduce and make reductions.  This adds so much flavor to a sauce and brings your dish to a whole 'nother level.  
  1. Place figs in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit until softened, approximately 30 minutes. Place the softened figs in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid and process until smooth. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet,  add olive oil and saute onions on medium to caramelize.  Be careful to not overcook.  Don't sweat them, caramelize themHelp?
  3. Puree the onions in a food processor.Combine the onion puree and chicken stock in another saucepan and reduce by half over high heat.
  4. Combine the vinegar and port wine in a medium nonreactive saucepan and reduce by half over high heat. 
  5. Add the sugar, orange juice, and fig puree and reduce by half again, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the reduced vinegar-fig mixture to the chicken stock mixture along with a touch of honey and reduce by half again, stirring occasionally. Strain the mixture into a clean medium saucepan and reduce to a sauce consistency.
Reducing wine is simple: pour a good wine into a pot and boil away until reduced. Won't burn. Won't stick. Add whatever else towards the end, being careful not to add more than a pinch of this and a bit of that. Same for reducing wine and a true stock. If the stock is seasoned, however, care will be needed to not add too much of something or the other, throwing the whole out of balance.

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