Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cherry Barbecue

I broke out the now-trusty stovetop smoker the other day to make some 'cue. I got it in my head to experiment with a cherry barbecue sauce, made with dried cherries and a good dose of bourbon. The sauce was just fine and dandy eaten straight out of the jar, but was even better on some smoked chicken thighs.

In previous smoking events, I didn't leave the food in contact with smoke for nearly long enough. This time, I cooked the bone-in, skinless, chicken thighs for a good 45 minutes, which imbued them with a ton of smoky goodness. I popped them into a saute pan with several tablespoons of sauce and a bit of vegetable stock and simmered it until the liquid reduced into a nice glaze. Delicious!

(The sides, an oatmeal risotto and sauteed radishes, did not match at all, but they were what I had. Next time - cole slaw!)

Cherry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup minced onion
olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring cherries and bourbon to a simmer, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until cherries are nice and plump and much of the bourbon has evaporated. Transfer to a food processor and puree. Set aside.

Wipe out the saucepan and add the onions, oil, and pinch of salt. Cover and cook onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are quite soft, 15-20 minutes.

Add the cherry bourbon puree to the onions. Add the stock, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, honey, and ancho powder, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

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