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Friday, February 04, 2005

Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce:Recipe

I can barely believe it, but my bottle of pomegranate molasses is almost empty! To think I bought it just a little over six months ago. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of it--stews, marinades, salad dressing, kebabs and now, barbecue sauce. It occurred to me just a few weeks ago that its distinctive tangy flavor would be perfect for ribs or meaty vegetables like mushrooms or eggplant. So I began experimenting with it until I came up with a recipe I liked.

Fresh pomegranate is a labor intensive ingredient, but pomegranate molasses adds a rich taste to sauces, soups and stews with a minimum of effort. My theory is that it is used in Middle Eastern cooking much like wine is used in Western cooking. It adds fruitiness, acidity and depth of flavor, though unlike wine, it is already "reduced" to a thick syrupy consistency. It also adds a beautiful dark ruby color to glazed meats or vegetables. I particularly like the Cortas brand which you can find in Middle Eastern markets and gourmet shops. At under $3 for a 10oz bottle, it's a bargain.

I often make country style pork ribs because they are inexpensive, readily available in supermarkets and you can cook them easily in the oven. Boil the ribs for 30 minutes, then coat them with barbecue sauce and bake in a 400 degree oven, for 20 minutes, basting frequently. Almost any barbecue sauce will work, but this one helps cut through the richness of the meat.

Tangy Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce
Makes 3/4 cup


1/2 cup ketchup
3 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 Tablespoons honey
1 clove of garlic
Hot sauce to taste (such as Tabasco)


Press the garlic through a garlic press, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add as many drops of hot sauce as you like. Use this sauce on spare ribs, chicken, tempeh, eggplant, or portabello mushrooms. The flavor of the sauce will intensify when it cooks.