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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Smokey Peach Barbecue Sauce


I've been eating up my stored foods, like dried fruit, in anticipation of the fresh foods coming as spring stretches
into summer.

I still have some dried peaches in my pantry, so I used them in this sauce. It's a healthy alternative to bottled barbecue sauces that contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch, preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, artificial flavors and colors.

My barbecue sauce is made from whole foods. The subtle sweetness of the peaches pairs well with the smokey flavors of the fire-roasted tomatoes, cumin and chipotle (a dried, smoked jalapeno pepper). The peaches also help thicken the sauce.

If you don't have dried peaches, substitute 1/3 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots. If you can't find fire-roasted tomatoes, use regular crushed tomatoes.

Slather this sauce on grilled chicken, slow-roasted pork, grilled vegetables or tofu triangles.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
1 cup chopped red onion
1 large orange
4 dried peach halves
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
1/2 cup crushed fire-roasted tomatoes 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Sea salt
Ground peppercorn
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch ground allspice
1 dried chipotle

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion until browned and caramelized. If it starts to stick, stir in some sea salt. (It will draw moisture out of the onion and prevent it from sticking, but it will also take longer to brown.) Take your time with this step and be sure that the onion is brown before you move onto the next step.

While the onion browns, juice the orange and set it aside. Thinly slice the dried peaches and set them aside as well.

Stir in the garlic and continue cooking until it becomes aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and 1/2 cup of the orange juice. Sprinkle in some sea salt and grind in some peppercorn. Use kitchen shears to cut up the chipotle pepper and add the whole thing if you like your sauce spicy, or just some of it for a more mild sauce. Stir in the dried peaches.

Bring the mixture to a slow simmer, then cover it and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer it for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow it to cool, covered, to room temperature. Don't rush this step because the residual heat will continue to soften the peaches, allowing them to become fully re-hydrated.

Purée the mixture until smooth, using an immersion blender, stand blender or a food processor. (The sauce fits perfectly in a pint-sized wide-mouth mason jar, and so does an immersion blender.)

Once it is smooth, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve it immediately or store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for future use.

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