Have you ever wanted to put all that is good about the autumn: the flavors, aromas, etc., in a bottle? Make a batch of this flavorful glaze and, right away, you got yourself autumn in a jar. Sweet, tangy, buttery with just a hint of malts and hops, this glaze goes well with just about everything.
You all have met my all-purpose stir-fry sauce, Bruno; I’d like to introduce to you his all-purpose little brother.
All you have to do is boil 24 ounce apple cider, 12 ounce dark beer (stout or porter), 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan over medium heat until the mixture is reduced down to about 3/4 cup, thick, and syrupy.* (Watch the pan and monitor the heat a bit more closely towards the end as the sauce becomes sticky and prone to burning.) Once that happens, remove the pan from heat and stir in 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
If not used right away, the glaze can be stored in a clean glass jar, covered, and refrigerated for a month. It will become very thick upon refrigeration. To get the refrigerated glaze back to its original consistency, just scoop some out and slightly thin it out with warm water.
This is my go-to, all-purpose glaze which has saved my behind on 3-4 occasions that I can think of. Burn a side dish before the guests arrive? More guests show up than expected? Fear not. Cut up some root vegetables, brush them generously with this glaze, and roast them until they’re tender and slightly charred on the outside.
My favorite way to use this glaze? I brush it on a piece of tender and succulent pork belly which have been braised in soy-flavored liquid, spiked with five-spice powder. The apple cider-beer-glazed pork is then popped in a very hot oven (475°-500° F) — ever so briefly — just until its skin is blistered and shatteringly crispy.
I also brush it on sweet potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pork loin, Cornish game hens, quails, etc.
There’s no need to put any herbs or spices in the glaze as this allows for greater versatility. Cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves may work well for certain things while ruining others. This is why I don’t include any spices or herbs in the glaze. If you’d like additional flavoring or perfuming agents in this glaze, add them at the time when you’re just about to use it as that is when you have an idea of what food item you’re pairing it with. That way, you can make sure that the flavors don’t clash.
Lastly, to lengthen the shelf life of this glaze, don’t brush it on raw meat then dip the same brush back into the jar. It’s best to measure out just enough glaze for each use and go back for more if necessary, using a clean spoon each time.
*The amount of reduction time depends on the width and depth of your cooking vessel; the wider and the shallower, the more surface area and the shorter time it takes to evaporate liquid.