Peach cobbler, peach pie, peach melba, peach shortcake, peach ice cream -- peachy keen. A perfectly-ripe peach is the apple of everyones eye. Announce that you're serving a fresh peach dessert for dinner and everyone shows up on time. When the peaches on our backyard trees ripen, things in my kitchen move fast for a few days. It's damn-the-torpedos, full-speed-ahead, all-things-peaches. They trickle in at first, pile up at the end, and, after picking, I only have, at best, 24-48 hours to get 'em in their juicy, ripe prime. It's a drippy, sticky, tricky situation.
While I like fruit desserts as much as the next person, I like savory fruit sauces just as much, and, peaches lend their sweet and tart flavor to barbecue sauce, which complements poultry or pork, amazingly well. I make peach preserves every year, so I have them on-hand in my freezer all year long -- it's a delicious way to make use of an overabundance of peaches in a hurry. Peach preserves, combined with little bits of sweet onion star in my peachy keen barbecue sauce.
1/2 cup very-finely diced yellow or sweet onion
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup firmly-packed dark brown 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
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Note: I use a generous 1/4 teaspoon.)
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. Saucier: 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 high-quality saucier I am using is stainless steel with a cooper core and is made by Anolon.
~Step 2. Place saucier over low heat. Using a large spoon, stir constantly, until ingredients are thoroughly combined and peach preserves and sugars are melted. Adjust heat to medium-high to simmer vigorously, whisking constantly to avoid scorching, for exactly 3 minutes. Sauce will be nicely thickened. Remove from heat, cover and allow to cool for 1 hour prior to serving warm.
Note: For a smooth texture, place in a blender or a food processor and blend or process.
~ Step 3. 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: feel free to make a double batch and portion it into small containers to have on hand all the time. Brush sauce onto grilled poultry, pork or vegetables just before removing food from the grill. Serve additional sauce at tableside for dipping or drizzling.
Peachy keen with just enough sweet 'n savory heat:
Special Equipment List: 3-quart saucier w/lid, or a 2-3-4-quart saucepan w/lid; cutting board; chef's knife; large spoon
Cook's Note: My recipe for ~ Perfect Peach Preserves from the Bread Machine ~ can be found in Categories 8, 9, 20 or 22. The bread machine does all the work, which leaves my hands free to prep subsequent batches. They can be refrigerated for several weeks and frozen for several months too.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)