Sauces, gravies and glazes take an average meal and propel it upwards into the category of “meals of fond memory” or “meals I long to repeat.” Next to nutrition for our bodies, cooking is all about flavor, adding flavors, maximizing flavors, combining flavors, contrasting flavors and just plain old savoring flavors on our palate.
Traditionally we think of the gravy that our mothers or grandmothers made for roast beef, chicken or turkey. Many of us were envious of the family members who seemed to make an effortless chore of tasty gravy. Why did it seem so easy for some and yet so difficult for others?
Some sauces truly do take an incredible amount of time and skill. Concentrated flavors can just takeover our senses in such a lovely fashion, enhancing a meal virtually beyond words. As you have read in this column in the past there are many great sauces/gravies/glazes that all of us can make and give our kitchen efforts and outstanding flavor profile.
This time of year we are thinking about the holidays and all those particular foods. Cranberries are one such food, and perhaps we can find ways to incorporate them onto our dinner plate more often. Here’s a recipe for Cranberry Orange Glaze, I’ve developed this recipe from something that would fall into that category of long in time and effort to make. This is much more simple and has a very universal appeal. It goes extremely well on chicken, pork and even seafood. Let me know how you like it.
Cranberry Orange Glaze
2 tsp minced or grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate
3 tbl soy sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tsp chili powder, (hot if you like)
2 tbl sugar
1 tbl brown sugar
1 tbl water
Cornstarch and water for thickening
In small sauce pan over medium heat combine ginger, orange juice, cranberry concentrate, soy sauce, garlic, chili powder and sugars. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook on low for about 7 to 10 minutes.
At this point you need to decide if you want to strain the solids from the liquid. Personally I prefer the glaze to be strained.
After straining, return the liquid to the pan and mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with enough water to from a slurry. While the liquid is simmering add a little of the cornstarch slurry to the simmering liquid and bring it back to a boil. Thicken this way until you have achieved the consistency you desire keeping in mind that as it cools it will be even thicker than when at a boil. Most likely you will not need all of the cornstarch slurry.
Use this on your turkey, chicken or pork.