Driving Up the Spice


by Vic Clino

Apple Cinnamon Ghost Pepper Sauce

Apple-Sauce-White-Gravy1A sweet complement to your holiday spiral-cut ham or drizzled warmly over vanilla ice cream served with apple pie for dessert, you’ll find a multitude of uses for this decadent sauce throughout your seasonal get-togethers and beyond.

Yield 21⁄2 cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Zest Factor Hot
Cook Time 40 minutes

4 tablespoons clarified butter*
1 clove garlic, minced
4 sweet apples, peeled, cored and small diced
2 ghost peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced (You can substitute a heaping tablespoon of a purée.)
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ tablespoon cayenne powder
1 cup apple juice
½ cup apple cider vinegar
salt and white pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, warm the butter over medium-high heat. Sweat the garlic just until translucent, about 2–3 minutes. Add the apples and peppers. Cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Add the brown sugar and dry ingredients, stirring until all the butter is absorbed. Add the juice and cider vinegar. Increase the heat slightly to bring to a boil.
3. Decrease the heat, just enough to maintain a rolling simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce cook and reduce for 30 minutes. Serve immediately, if desired.

Country White Gravy

This might just become your all year-round go-to gravy. It’s awesome on fried chicken, chicken fried steak or gobbed over a thick-cut pork chop or pork loin. Simple, nicely spiced and extra hearty.

Yield 4 cups
Prep Time 15 minutes
Zest Factor Mild
Cook Time 2 hours

8 slices bacon, minced
2 ounces clarified butter*
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium stalk celery, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 bay leaf

1. Render the bacon in the butter over medium-low heat. Add the jalapeño and cayenne. Cook until the bacon is crispy, about 8–9 minutes.
2. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Sweat the veggies until the onions are translucent, about 5–6 minutes. Slowly stir in the flour and cook over medium heat to make a white roux that is a light sandy color and smells like buttered popcorn. Do not overcook. Whisk until smooth.
3. Add the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Decrease the heat to low, just enough to maintain a simmer with slight bubbles, for 1 hour. Skim any fat off the top as needed. Add the milk and cream, then return to that same simmer for 1 additional hour, skimming any fat as needed. Adjust the seasoning to taste and add cream, if needed to maintain that smooth gravy consistency.

*Note: To make clarified butter, melt butter low and slow, then let stand for 5 minutes. Skim any foam and strain milky solids before using.

This recipe was originally published in the October 2015 issue.

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