I am a sucker for a good reduction sauce. There is just something magical about putting a few simple, ordinary ingredients into a pan and letting it simmer away until something extraordinary happens. What started out as vinegar or juice or wine becomes this beautiful glossy mixture. After it is cooled sufficiently, dip in a spoon and let it cool for a bit, just to be sure, then taste it and you cannot help but exclaim, “Oh, wow, that is incredible!”
I want to share with you the sauce I have been experimenting with for the past week: Pomegranate Molasses. I actually have a few new recipes to share with you but I want to break them up into a couple of posts at least because each of these components stand alone. I am sharing the Pomegranate molasses first, which plays a supporting role but gives the following recipes their magic.
You can use this in sauces over sweet or savory dishes, or as a salad dressing or marinade. It has a tart-sweet flavor that complements meats, poultry, salads, grains, vegetables, fruits…um, yeah like all kinds of things. I can’t wait to try it on chicken but coming soon, I will share the delicious fall vegetarian dish I drizzled this sauce over.
I had never heard of pomegranate molasses until I saw it in Grant farm’s CSA newletter, where it was mentioned as part of a dressing for tabouleh lettuce wraps. They said it could be purchased or made at home so I decided to experiment with making it at home. I pretty much knew from the newsletter that it utilized pomegranate juice with a bit of sugar and lemon juice so I just started mixing everything together. I later saw some guidelines all over the internet such as on Simply recipes.com and they were pretty much the same as I was making because reduction sauces are so easy to do. With this one, just add a bit of sugar and lemon and cook on low till thick and reduced from 4 cups to 1-2 cups. It sounds simple but the results are anything but. The reduction creates a complex, rich and amazingly textured sauce if you do it right.
Okay, let me admit that the first time I made this, I did not do it right and it still turned out great. For one thing, I started on it after midnight. I got a bit busy when it was finishing up more than an later and did not keep a good eye on it at the end. This is a mistake!! You can wonder through the kitchen every 10 or so minutes for the first 50 minutes of cooking but then, do not leave it. It goes from glossy goodness to gooey mess quicly. Luckily, I caught it just before it became unusable. I also burned my finger a bit because this stuff retains its heat, which I already knew but forgot in my hurry to get it out of the pan before it hardened. Anyway, I still was able to use that pomegranate molasses as a marinade for a brisket and it was wonderful. But I wanted to try again to get it perfect.
I made some yesterday, earlier in the day, and this time I kept a close eye it as it neared the end and caught it in its perfect level of transformation. Wonderful. I like to stop somewhere just between pomegratnate syrup and molasses- reducing to almost 1 ¼ cups.
Okay, here is what you will need.
Add about an hour of cooking time and here is what you get.
4 cups pomegranate juice
½- 2/3 cup sugar, white
¼ cup fresh lemon juice, about ½ a lemon
Throw it all in a large saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat once sugar is dissolved and keep pan on a low simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Keep a closer eye on it after 50 minutes to make sure it does not turn to sticky goo.
For a syrup like consistency you can stop when it gets syrup like and has reduced to about 1 ½ to 2 cups. But it makes a glossy velvety sauce when reduced to about 1 ¼ or 1 cup and then it is called pomegranate molasses. It is ready to be drizzled over foods or mixed into your favorite sauces, salad dressings or marinades.
So a hint of the secret ingredient of the next recipe...