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I had never thought about it -- maybe because it isn't consider a mother sauce -- but I had no idea what a gastrique was, until I searched the internet the other day. I wanted to emulate a sherry vinegar gastrique that I had had the other week.

After some research, I read about a 2:1 sugar to vinegar ratio. I suppose that I overcaramelized the sugar, because the final product tasted of molasses, and only finished of vinegar.

As far as the texture, I let it cool in the pan while the veggies roasted -- and quite quickly had hard candy in the pan. A quick reheat remedied that, but it was still thicker and stickier than I had in other gastriques.

I found other resources that talked about using fruit or adding some water. I was wondering how others make gastriques? How much caramelization do you look for? What ratio do you use?

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I love gastriques! I've seen a wide range of ratios, and I've seen gastriques that use both caramelized and plain sugar. I'm not sure if there's a specific ratio that makes for a proper gastrique, so if you found it a little sweet, I think you could raise the amount of vinegar and still call it a gastrique. I prefer mine a little on the tart side, too.

Last week, for Valentine's Day, I made duck breasts with a sour cherry/red wine gastrique as follows:

1/2 cup red wine (I used a Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend)

1/2 cup red wine vinegar (Cab Franc varietal vinegar)

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup sour cherries (frozen back in the summer)

Put it all in a pot and reduce until syrupy. I found this to be a little sweet, so I'd cut the sugar next time.

I also once made a sour apple gastrique by caramelizing some sugar then adding cider vinegar along with some Granny Smith apple peels, reducing then straining. It was a lovely accompaniment to the pork belly confit from Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie book. I don't remember the ratio of sugar to vinegar I used in that one, though.

Matthew Kayahara



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I was inspired to do a simple gastrique this past New Year's, when late in the game, I found out that one of my guests was lactose-intolerant, and my first course was planned as turbot in fennel cream with apples and celery. I kept the course as planned, but in addition to the fennel cream, I threw together a gastrique of apple cider vinegar, sugar, some straight-up apple cider, and a splash of sherry vinegar. I did 1:1 on the vinegar:sugar ratio, and didn't do a caramel -- just dissolved in the cider vinegar over heat, then cooked down a bit. It didn't thicken much, but I did really like the flavor as it all came together.


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A classic use of gastrique is the orange sauce for Canard a l'Orange: Make a medium caramel, then dissolve with red wine vinegar, add dark duck stock, reduce, add blanched orange peel julienne and finish with s&p, a little orange liqueur and some butter.

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I make a Blood Orange & Tomato Gastrique that I serve with veal that is really simple, and produces a really deliclious final result:

1/2 cup champagne vinegar

1/2 cup blood orange juice

4 Tbsp sugar

1/4 cup blood orange segments

1/4 cup petite diced roma tomato

Combine vinegar and orange juice in small saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce by 1/3. Add sugar and cook until mixture begins to lightly coat a spoon. Remove from heat and add orange and tomato segments.

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Add sugar and cook until mixture begins to lightly coat a spoon.


Technichally I don't think that that is a gastrique. A think a gastrique should be based on caramelized sugar, although the only reference I have for that are some fuzzy memories and a Wikipedia stub:


What you are describing sounds more like a Agrodolce:


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  • 4 months later...

With some leftover cherries, I made a cherry-port wine-sherry vinegar gastrique for some pork the other night. Perhaps I should've started by caramelizing the sugar, but I cooked the cherries down first. I added the sugar, let that caramelize as much as it would, and added port wine and sherry vinegar.

It didn't thicken much, which I would bet would have to do with the lack of caramelization.

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Gastriques are fun, there's a lot of room for play and interpretation within that category. I'm not sure there are any strict rules about caramelizing sugar or what has to serve as the acid source or ratios as long as you end up with a sweet/sour syrupy reduction at the end.

For the khymos.org TGRWT #11 challenge the flavor pairing was banana and clove. I did clove brined pork tenderloin and breaded pickled banana on a vanilla bean skewer with vanilla salt and a clove gastrique made from 500 ml white wine, 60 ml of the banana pickling liquid, 80 ml of sucanat (it's what I used it in the pork brine and pickling liquid so I wanted to pull it through the sauce as well), salt and a few whole cloves. I simply combined it all, reduced, removed the cloves and plated it. Maybe not traditional, but a gastrique as far as I'm concerned. :biggrin:


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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