Showing posts with label sauce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sauce. Show all posts

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Guinness Extra Stout Caramel Sauce

are you a caramel freak ?...

grab your keys
go buy the Guinness
make this caramel sauce !!!

sometimes the best things happen on the way to the destination...

my goal, or destination, was sweet red cherry preserves swimming in malty Guinness syrup.

i ended up with this incredible extra stout vanilla maple caramel sauce

i looked around for Guinness reductions and found quite a few. most were for "dipping" sauces or for savory applications like beef, steak, lamb, pork, ribs etc... they didn't quite sound like what i was looking for...i didn't quite know what i was looking for !  one found HERE at Key is meant for dipping Irish Soda Bread...a simple reduction of equal amounts of Guinness and sugar...YUMMMM!   and another found HERE has balsamic and honey...sounds tasty...might try that one, but i'm a little tired of balsamic at the moment.

so...with that in mind i poured the whole bottle of Guinness Extra Stout in the pot with some brown and white sugar.  fascinated by the foaming and bubbling, i stirred and stirred, tasted and re-tasted...Vanilla!...needs vanilla to mellow out the bitter taste.  still bitter...hmmmmm....Maple syrup?...that did it.

friends and guinea pigs were so mesmerized by this glistening amber pot of gold that ideas started to fly.  strawberries?...pretzels?...brownies?...milk shakes?...BBQ ribs? cream sundae?...caramel cappuccino?...frappuccino?...chocolate?...BACON ?


enough said...make the sauce !

i will preface this with...
i have only made this once and it was incredible.  i pretty much made it up as i was going...or at least i haven't seen any recipes like it for you to refer to.  so bear with me on the instructions.
basically you are just reducing the ingredients down to a caramel consistency.

1 large bottle (1 pint 6 oz.) Guinness Extra Stout
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup (might want more, but don't hide the Guinness flavor)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or 1 scraped vanilla bean.  i used  paste

start with a large heavy bottom pot...large because this will bubble up quite a bit...a lot.
add Guinness, sugars and maple syrup.  start on low until sugar dissolves.  bring it up to medium and reduce, reduce, reduce.  stir, stir, stir...this will help prevent burning and keep the foaming up to a minimum.  i suggest you keep a watchful eye.  when it starts to thicken, add the vanilla paste.  do a taste test.  at first mine was a little too bitter so i added the maple syrup...check yours to see if you might need more than i have suggested.  keep cooking and stirring until it gets to a caramel texture.  be careful not to let it burn.  when it coats your spoon, it should be done.  let cool to room temp.

NOTES...i never refrigerated my jar...i carried this around and gave spoonfuls away the next day.
I DID make the Caramelized Sweet Cherries that i will try to post about soon.
my point is...this could get really hard if refrigerated.
AND...what is left in the jar has turned a little more syrupy, darker, with crystallization on the sides.  still delicious and great for a "dipping sauce".
SO... i do not know the shelf life or stability of this, but IT'S DELICIOUS !

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spicy Sausage Marinara (low carb Pasta)

i'll bet most home cooks have their own version of an Italian Marinara Sauce in their back pocket.

OR...know someone with the best red sauce recipe...OR you have your in-laws' Italian Grandma's hand written "gravy" recipe framed on the kitchen wall..well, i do know someone, but i usually just wait for her to have a big family dinner and hope for leftovers.  i just never turned out a good sauce for myself.  i must admit i've had a few batches of "just okay" or what i call "so-so sauces", but this one was tasty and good enough to share and post so i wouldn't forget.  i think it had a lot to do with the San Marzano Tomatoes, good spicy sausage and definitely the extra long cooking.  i'm not claiming any authentic Italian marinara here...just some good red meat sauce.  
it's pretty simple and comes together fairly quickly, but it really should cook for a few hours.  

so...i've finally learned the basics...set the day aside, buy the right ingredients, channel the Italian Grandma Gravy Gods...AND have my best friend Kim, whose a solid New York Italian known for her sauce, on speed dial...i think i called her 5 times.  maybe 6...

everyone's tastes are different so you might want to add a dash of something here and a smidgen of whatever there.  the key is to cook, stir, taste...cook some more and taste some more and so on.  i like my sauce thick and a little chunky with a bit of a kick.  too thick?...add stock or add some pasta water.  too chunky?...get out the immersion spicy?...add the pepper flakes toward the end or let the diners control the heat.  works well with any shape pasta, poured over steamed vegetables or this new "almost" spinach fettuccine i recently came across.

 let's talk a minute about this pasta...
it's NOT PASTA by any means,
BUT it is only 5 calories per serving!
believe it or not...this whole bowl with meat sauce has about 200 calories.

visually Pasta Slim does the trick.  we eat with our eyes and this truly looks like the real thing.
taste?...really has no flavor at all, but it does take on what ever you serve it with.
texture?... they are a little slippery right out of the bag and must be washed and dried as much as possible...and...some of the strands can be a bit 4 feet long!... so they might need cutting.
other than that, they are a great diet, WHEAT FREE, carb conscious pasta substitute.
they definitely serve as a great vehicle for "sauce to mouth"

on with the recipe...

makes about 6 - 7 cups.  use what you need then freeze the rest

1 med. yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced small
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
3 spicy Italian pork sausage
1 sweet Italian turkey sausage
(sausage equaling about 1 1/4 lbs.)
1 28oz can San Marzano peeled plum tomatoes
(cut up as they go in the pot.  don't lose juices)
1 15oz can San Marzano diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can San Marzano tomato sauce
2 big Tbsp San Marzano tomato paste
1 big tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 - 2 tsp dried red chili flakes (more or less)
5-7 fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
3 big Tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano
2-3 cups water

in a large stock pot...
start with olive oil and onions (med. heat), then add garlic.  remove casing from sausage and add meat to the pot. lightly brown the meat until it's cooked through.  separate the sausage lumps while should resemble hamburger meat. 
add all tomato ingredients (with all juices), dried herbs, chili flakes and 2 cups water.
bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  stir occasionally.
after about an hour...add parmigiano and fresh basil.  if it looks to thick add a little more water.
simmer for 1 more hour. 
 taste for seasoning.
it should be ready to serve at this will get better and better if you cook it for at least another hour. best friend Kim (New York-Italian) cooks hers alllll day long, but she makes a HUGE pot with pork chops instead of it cooks until the meat is just falling apart.  it's enough to feed an army of hungry Italians.  i had her on the hot line as i was cooking and she said leave it on...let it cook.

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