Archive for September 6th, 2012

September 6, 2012

Day 300

Juniper Sauce

When I found a recipe for juniper sauce in my Old Polish Traditions cookbook, I didn’t make the connection between juniper berries and gin — which I hate. Tastes like pine needles. But this time my ignorance of cooking techniques worked in my favor. Well, my ignorance plus a little help from bacon. Let me start at the beginning … here’s the recipe:

2 ounces smoked bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons leftover game, chopped (I didn’t have any leftover game lying around the house, so I just increased the bacon)
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1/4 celery root, finely chopped (Don’t even get me started about how much of a pain in the arse it is to clean and chop a celery root. Ugly little buggers, too. I think I’ll stick with using celery leaves to flavor soups and such.)
1 tablespoon dried juniper berries

Simmer in a saucepan until veggies begin to brown. Add 1 cup broth and cook over low heat for one hour. Lightly brown 1 ounce flour and 1 ounce butter. Add vegetables, cook and run through a sieve. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine. Season to taste. (Lemon juice and tomato paste are mentioned as possible additions.)

This is a traditional sauce for game, but I had a pork roast. So I threw it all into a crock pot with a layer of carrots and the roast and let it bubble away for 5 or so hours.

If you’ll notice, though, nowhere in that recipe does it mention crushing the juniper berries, which I guess is what you’re supposed to do in a juniper sauce. At least that’s what the Internet informed me when I went looking for the reason why I couldn’t taste anything other than bacon and onions in my creation. That’s also what reminded me of the gin/juniper connection.

Part of me was relieved that I didn’t coat a helpless pork roast in icky pine-needle sauce. But another part of me was disappointed that I didn’t technically try anything new. So I stuck one of the berries in my mouth. Tastes like pine needles.