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Breathe New Life Into Your Sides With Gastrique Fruit Sauces

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Are you bored by your weekly menu? Uninspired by yet another batch of boring chicken breasts? Bored stiff by the same old steamed vegetables? There’s an easy technique that can breathe new life into your dinner repertoire. It has a fancy name, gastrique, but the technique couldn’t be easier.

Wikipedia defines a gastrique as “a reduction of vinegar and sugar brought to light caramelization, to which a little fond (stock) is added. It is a base to which many other ingredients, or just a few, can be added to form a sauce. It is generally used to create a sweet and sour sauce; one of the classics being orange sauce for duck (à l’orange).”

The definition alone sounds very complicated, like a special treat to order in a restaurant, but the process of making the sauce is actually very forgiving. And once you’ve braved it once, you’ll want to experiment with gastriques made from different types of vinegar, fruits, and sweeteners. Your broccoli, asparagus, and chicken breasts will never be the same again.

Meyer Lemon Gastrique


  • 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
  • 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  1. Pour the brown sugar into a heavy bottom medium saucepan. Heat on medium flame until the sugar melts, about 5 minutes.
  2. As soon as the sugar has melted into a caramel, reduce the flame to low, and add the vinegar, stirring vigorously until blended. There will be lots of frothing and hissing, stir until you have a brown, viscous, substance.
  3. Now add the Meyer Lemon juice, stirring again until all blended. Heat on low, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes to reduce the sauce.
  4. Combine the gastrique with a tablespoon of butter to finish it off and serve on top of  vegetables or chicken.
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