Apricot Barbeque Sauce

This is a barbeque sauce unlike any other you’ve ever had.  This is love.  This is genuine flavor.

When you think of ‘soy bbq sauce’, what you’re probably really thinking of is apricot bbq sauce.  The flavors are a true blend of east-meets-west, lending itself perfectly to the wonderful palette of Chinese and southeast Asian spices.  Cinnamon, orange, sweet rice wine, apricot, soy sauce, miso.. they all come together in harmony in a bold sweet and sour grilling sauce.  And that’s really what bbq sauce is: sweet and sour.  The flavor of soy, accentuated by the natural flavor or umami, is carefully brought out through other ingredients.  There is no one dominant ingredient; everything works together.  As you’re cooking the sauce you’ll smell cinnamon, orange, maple, the slight nuance of vinegar, and a lovely combination of Asian ingredients.

Of course apricots have a long heritage in south Asian cuisine.  Once, again, think along the lines of the great and ancient spice routes that crossed from Asian through the middle east and Persian and ended in Europe.  So many of our modern ‘national’ dishes originated along these routes.  Apricots were introduced to Asian from Persian and middle eastern empires, cinnamon from southeast Asia, and many of the other spices were picked up along the way.  Apricots became so important in Chinese culture that they became a symbol of intelligence and medicine. But it’s their flavor that interests us most.  Other than sweet, apricots are also very tangy, which yields tremendous natural flavor, which, as any pastry expert will tell you, is where flavor is derived. They are unique in flavor, but lie somewhere between a plum, pear and apple.  All great ingredients, all versatile ingredients.

Apricots therefore lend themselves very well to sweet, savory and sour dishes.  Like bbq sauce.  Add some additional sweetness, a little sour, a few elements from the great spice routes and a few staple Asian ingredients and viola!  Apricot bbq sauce.  Simply perfect.  Simply delicious.

Apricot Barbeque Sauce

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  30 minutes
Yield:  3 cups

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion, julienne cut
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 roma tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup apricot preserve
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. maple sugar
1/2 apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. light brown miso paste
1 cinnamon stick
zest (not fine chop!) of one orange
1 cup water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of sriracha
2 tbsp. mirin

Method:

In a medium sized heavy bottom non-reactive sauce pot, begin sweating the onion in the oil.  Add the tomatoes, cinnamon stick and orange zest.  Cook until the tomatoes begin to loosen from their skin.  Add the maple sugar, apricot preserve and syrup.  Cook, stirring frequently, until bubbling.  Deglaze with the vinegar.  Add all the other ingredients except the water.  Cook until it begins to lightly thicken.  Add the water, bring to a low simmer, and simmer until slightly reduced.  Turn off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and most of the zest.  Blend well.  Return to the pot and simmer over low heat until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

The sauce is now ready.  Best with chicken seasoned with five spice and grilled over a hot wood grill.

Enjoy.

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