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Cherry Barbeque Sauce

Gregg Prawdzik

(a.k.a. “What to do with old cherries”)
Makes 1 quart
Most people like to snack on cherries when they are fresh, sweet and pop in your mouth. But here is another very good use for when they have lost their luster.

1 nub, fresh tumeric
1 lb cherries
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
6 clove, garlic minced
2 pods, fresh tamarind, peeled
¼ cup raisins
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
4 ea, allspice berries
3 tbsp smoked paprika
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

MISE EN PLACE: Always use whole spices when possible. They last much longer in your pantry and can be revived by toasting. Therefore, toast coriander and cumin in a fry pan until fragrant. Let cool and grind in spice mill along with the allspice. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan add water and the seeds of the tamarind. Boil for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool. Strain the juice through a fine mesh colander saving the liquid and nectar. Set aside.

Peel turmeric with a vegetable peeler. Wear gloves and be prepared to wash you cutting board immediately after. Mince and set aside.

COOKING: In a medium sauce pan on high heat add oil, and tomato paste. Sauté until brown and add onions, garlic and turmeric. Sauté for 2 minute more and add raisins, cherries, coriander, cumin, allspice, and smoked paprika. Saute for 10 minutes and add orange juice, vinegar and tamarind nectar. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to a very low simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent burning from the sugar. Allow to cook for 1 hour and let cool at room temperature. Stirring occasionally during the cooling process with help thicken the sauce. Once room temperature, you may puree the sauce if you wish.

NOTES: With the pretty much the same recipe, you can make a completely different BBQ sauce, sort of Asian style. Leave out the cumin and tomato paste. Add 3 cloves of whole star anise when adding the cherries along with ¼ cup Vietnamese fish sauce.