Sweet, tangy and absolutely divine in flavor. Learn how to make a simple gastrique for this Pork Tenderloin with Peach Basil Gastrique
What the heck is a gastrique anyway?
In a nutshell it’s a sauce made from a vinegar and sugar reduction. This simple combo can be flavored with about anything you dream up. You can use any flavor of vinegar, any herb, spice, fruit juice, garlic, shallots, or fresh fruit…get my drift? A gastrique is meant to balance the earthy flavors of meat. And to bring it closer to home. An example, the sauce used for Panda Express famous Orange Chicken is a gastrique.
I was a little nervous making my first gastrique. While we made them all the time at Cooking School, it just so happened that I was never involved in the actual process. All I knew is that the saucepan held a very hot and bubbly combination of water and sugar. So hot that ingredients, like the vinegar and seasonings had to be added off heat. And of course, there were a couple of students who left the mixture unattended for a bit too long which ended in a smelly burnt mess. I was hesitant. It seemed finicky.
Isn’t Boiling Sugar Finicky?
But making gastrique in my own kitchen proved to be such a simple and rewarding process. So simple that I look forward to playing with flavors. I just made sure to watch it like a hawk and follow a few steps I learned about how to cook sugar.
Rules to keep in mind when cooking sugar:
- Wash down sides of pot with wet pastry brush. If the sugar splashes on the side of the pan, just wet a pastry brush with water. Run it gently around the side of the pan at the sugar line.
- Gently swirl pan to maintain even color as sugar starts to caramelize.
- Don’t stir, stirring can cause crystallization which ruins the texture.
- Be sure to use a heavy bottomed pan, and make sure pan and utensils are clean
- Add flavorings and ingredients off heat.
I’ve never owned an official pastry and basting brush and I have no idea how I’ve lived without it. I’ve provided an affiliate link below if you’re interested in purchasing one.
I had leftover gastrique sauce, so a couple of nights later, I breaded some chicken breast nuggets, fried them and served them with a side of this peach sauce for dipping. I hope you learn how to make a gastrique sauce = wonderful.
Peach gastrique is a wonderful sweet and tangy sauce. Made with caramelized sugar, vinegar and peach puree.
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon paprika or ancho chile powder for color
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 cup champagne vinegar
- 2 ripe peaches peeled, pitted, and pureed
- 2 tablespoons basil chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season tenderloin with salt, pepper and either ancho chile powder or paprika. Roast in oven until interior temperature reaches 145 degrees.
In the meantime make the gastrique. In a heavy bottomed pan, place sugar and water. Place over medium high heat, swirling pan to blend. As the sugar water mixture starts to cook, wet a pastry brush under the faucet and periodically wipe down sides of pan along the sugar line.
Cook sugar until it turns a golden brown. Remove from heat and add vinegar. The vinegar will harden the sugar. Place back on stove top and cook on medium for about 10 minutes. Swirling the pan to make sure the sugar remelts.
Once the mixture has started to thicken, remove from heat and add honey, basil and peach puree. Cook for another 15 minutes to thicken.
To serve, slice pork tenderloin and serve with a dollop of the peach gastrique.
This peach sauce would also be a great flavor for chicken.
Looking for more Pork Tenderloin Ideas? How about this:
Pork Tenderloin with Peach Basil Gastrique…It’s what’s for Dinner.