Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pineapple and Red Onion Simmer Sauce, by ME!

I'm excited! I invented this all by myself. It started as a "oh no, what should I do with this chicken" that turned into one dish, and after eating that one I decided I wanted to invent something similar but not quite as cloyingly sweet. It came out really well, so I'm posting the recipe! However. Since I was making this up as I went along, I don't have exact amounts for anything--I just poured in whatever seemed like a good amount and added more later as it developed. I'm going to estimate the amounts that I used (I tried to do this as I was cooking so I could post it), but if it seems like a lot, use less and add more as you feel like it. And if you add the amount that I said and taste it and think it needs more, by all means, add however much you want!

RECIPE: Pineapple and Red Onion Simmer Sauce (for chicken or pork)

-1 can pineapple (I used chopped so I could decide myself how crushed it was; you can use crushed if you want, and I'm sure it would still be delicious if you left it in chunks)
-1 medium red onion
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tsp sriracha chili sauce ("rooster sauce")
-3 tbsp pineapple preserves (if you can't find these, you could either add another flavor with different preserves or just add some sweetener--it balances the salty and spicy flavors from the previous two ingredients)
-ginger, to taste (more ginger than the other things)
-a large pinch of cumin
-a dash or two of paprika
-2-3 chicken breasts or pork chops (probably 3-4 pork chops? they're smaller), cubed

1. Slice the onion into discs and cut each disc in half so you have half-circles of onion. This way, you'll have strips of onion in the sauce. Yay.
2. Pour the can of pineapple into a medium saucepan. If you want to crush it, use a potato masher to crush it to your desired amount of crushed. Add the onions. Put the pan over medium heat and simmer until the onion softens.
3. Add the soy sauce, sriracha sauce, and spices. Stir to incorporate. Continue to simmer until the onion is completely limp and the liquid has reduced considerably.
4. While that's simmering, chop your chicken or pork and toss it into a large frying pan. Brown lightly.
5. Once the chicken/pork is cooked through, add your sauce. Allow to simmer, infusing the meat with flavor, for 5-10 minutes. If all the liquid simmers off, stop cooking! You don't want to dry out the meat.
6. Serve over brown rice and enjoy!

Step 2: pineapples and onions, simmering away.

Step 3: this is the color that everything was. I didn't notice until now how much the liquid had reduced; I'm so used to reducing things that thicken that I was getting frustrated with it. It worked well, though!

Step 5: I used two pretty large chicken breasts and could easily have used another with the amount of sauce that I had.

Ta-daa! It really was excellent with the brown rice--I know it takes twice as long to cook, but usually if you're cooking a full meal and start the rice at the beginning, it'll be done right around when the rest of your food is done (or way sooner! luckily it retains heat well). Taking the health benefits into consideration (along with the taste), it's definitely worth using brown over white!

The meal that this was based on was mostly made of the pineapple preserves--I used about half a jar, mixed with some pineapple juice and soy sauce (and the rest of the stuff listed up there). It was quite good--tasted a lot like sweet and sour sauce that you'd get at a Chinese restaurant, but better. It had the same sticky-sweet feel to it, though, and that made me want to make a healthier version. If you want to reproduce the original one, use pineapple preserves instead of canned pineapple, dilute it with pineapple juice, and do everything I did here except the simmering it part. Oh, and leave out the onions! I didn't have an onion to put in it, even though I really wanted one. (So you don't have to leave out the onions. Actually, though, if you include the onions, you'll probably want to simmer it for a bit to soften them.)

This version didn't taste anything like sweet and sour sauce. It tasted like fruit and chicken, with a little bit of bite to it. The flavors mixed incredibly well and nothing was too overpowering. The sweetness actually made the leftovers an excellent breakfast--I normally eat leftovers for breakfast, but I felt slightly less weird about it this time since it tasted like something normal people would eat for breakfast. So this is an anytime meal!

And on a really exciting note, I found a setting on my camera that takes much less blurry pictures! So you may notice that I'm less frustrated with blurry pictures in the future. These ones all came out nicely, YAY!

I'll be back on Friday...with THE MOST EXCITING POST OF ALL TIME. I'm serious. (It will probably include people!)