This fig sauce is part sauce, part glaze, and very reminiscent of a chutney; not only that, it’s part “cheater” because it starts out with a jar of fig preserves that get dressed up a bit. This is a method I will be using again and again with other fruit flavours, and in a multitude of ways.
I’ve been on a fig kick lately and that stems, in part, from a quote I have in my files and from a recent illness. Let me explain. First, if you follow me on facebook you’ll know that I most often start the morning with a food quote of some sort. I have files and files of quotes on various subjects, and one of the food quotes that I recently spied was this:
Figs are restorative, and the best food that can be taken by those who are brought low by long sickness…professed wrestlers and champions were in times past fed with figs. ~ Pliny, Roman naturalist (A.D. 23-79)
Unfortunately, I was ill from before Thanksgiving until Christmas (Christmas Eve, actually); I don’t recommend pneumonia to anyone, by the way. Then, on Christmas Eve, our friends Pat and her husband Jim (with whom we always spend Christmas Eve), served an appetizer of bacon wrapped figs. Suddenly that quote sprung to mind and I thought to myself, “Why, Saucy, you need to be eating more figs!”
While I’m no professional wrestler, nor am I a champion of any sort, I “fig-ured”
bad puns are what I do if figs worked for them, why not me? And so it went. Figs have been on my brain and in my gullet regularly since. And yes, I do feel so much better! *wink*
This fig sauce is a result of my quest to insert more figs into my diet. It is, as I said, very reminiscent of a chutney. I love chutney, but I can rarely buy them from any market, since many contain ginger, to which I am allergic. Chutney is so wonderful for so many things! I use it to top cream cheese and crackers; spread on top of a round of brie tucked inside puff pastry and baked; to glaze meats; as a sandwich spread…the possibilities are endless!
In this case, I smoked a loin of pork that was a gift from a friend who raised the pig. Since not everyone has a smoker, I could just as easily see this fig sauce on a roasted pork loin or roast, on pork chops, topping chicken, spread on lamb…well, with just about anything.
The sauce contains onions caramelized in bacon fat (everything’s better with bacon), and bourbon, and thyme, and a hint of heat, and some balsamic vinegar. It’s left chunky, because that’s how I love my chutney; you could toss it into a blender or food processor and puree it if you like your chutney smooth.
Then, if you’re not a fan of figs? Well, you could use this same method with any flavour of fruit preserves you love best. I know I will be. And I can hardly wait to try them all! Do, give it a try, I’m sure you’ll love it!
- 1 - 11.5 ounce jar fig preserves (I used Braswell's)
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat (you could use butter, but the bacon flavor adds a lot)
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced very thin
- a pinch of salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2 shakes crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- In a medium-sized sauce pan, over medium-high heat, melt the bacon fat (or butter).
- Add the onion, salt, and pepper and stir.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, then lower the heat to medium-low.
- Continue to cook for about 35 minutes, until the onions are golden brown.
- Add the bourbon and thyme leaves and stir.
- Continue simmering for about 2 minutes.
- Add the entire jar of preserves, the red pepper flakes and the vinegar.
- Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- At this point, the sauce can be served hot, or you can refrigerate it for later use. If you want a thinner glaze-like consistency, add a bit of water.