This easy recipe for gastrique makes a classic French sweet-and-sour sauce. The primary flavor (and some of the sweetness) typically comes from fruit and the sour from vinegar. You will find that this sauce is an amazing addition to roasted or sautéed pork or poultry dishes.
Gastriques are easy to make and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They also freeze beautifully, so feel free to make a few different flavors as various fruits come into season.
Which fruit should you use? Almost any fruit will make a great gastrique. Apple, blood orange, peach, mango, and most berries are popular flavors. If you like, combine two fruits like apple and cranberry or skip the fruit altogether and make a simple brandy gastrique.
Its versatility is the real beauty of the gastrique. With this one simple recipe, you can create endless flavors. You can use it to discover new flavor combinations and experiment with particular fruit and meat pairings to see which you enjoy most.
- 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
- 1 shallot (peeled and minced)
- 2 cups fruit (whole berries or larger fruit peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (depending on the fruit chosen and how sweet it is)
- 3 tablespoons wine (or cognac)
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add shallots and cook until they are translucent (about 5 minutes).
- Add the fruit, sugar, wine or cognac, and vinegar to the pan.
- Over medium-high heat, bring it to a very light boil, then reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer until the fruit is very tender (10 to 20 minutes) and remove from heat.
- If using berries, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any seeds. Otherwise, purée the mixture in a blender.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning and tartness as needed.
Tip: The wine, cognac, and vinegar also can be switched out with flavored brandies, cooking wines, vermouth, apple cider vinegar, or your favorite version of any of these ingredients. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Flavored Gastrique Variations to Try
As you experiment with flavors in this gastrique recipe, you will find that a subtle change in ingredients can enhance a particular fruit. You also can add other flavors to give your gastrique more dimension.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Apple Gastrique: Use apple cider vinegar and apple brandy. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Peach Gastrique: Use white-wine vinegar and cognac. Add 3/4 teaspoon of ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom.
- Strawberry Gastrique: Use balsamic vinegar and dry vermouth. Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract.