What is raisin sauce?

Golden raisins.

A raisin sauce can be a sweet or sour addition to a dessert or savory main course. The sauce is usually made from raisins, an acid like vinegar or lemon juice, and spices that balance out the flavor of the raisins. Most sauces are cooked by reconstituting the dried raisins and making them soft and moist, or splitting them fully into the sauce. Some recipes call for a raisin sauce to accentuate the sweetness of the raisins by pairing them with other fruits or sugars. Many types of food, including meat dishes that include pork or chicken, can go well with this sauce.

Red wine can be added to the raisin sauce to enhance the flavor.

One of the key elements to making a raisin sauce is developing the right consistency. There are dessert recipes that call for the raisins to be soaked beforehand to soften them, while others reduce the raisins in a sugary sauce until they break down completely. Whole raisins are often used in puddings or breads. Heavy or savory dishes sometimes use a raisin-based sauce that is smooth, achieving this texture by mixing the raisins into the sauce or boiling them with other ingredients and filtering out the solids from the final reduction.

Grilled chicken can be drizzled with raisin sauce.

A simple raisin sauce that can be used as a dessert starts with raisins, water, and orange or lemon zest. These are placed in a pan and heated until the raisins soften and begin to expand. Cinnamon and nutmeg are added in small amounts to provide a balance of flavors and an interesting tone. The sauce is thickened with a little molasses or brown sugar and then reduced until smooth and thick, although parts of the raisins are still visible. Other seasonings, such as apple or orange juice, can be used in small amounts to increase acidity.

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Savory dishes like ham or chicken go well with raisin sauce. These sauces usually start with the raisins being boiled in vinegar and a little water to soften them. Brown sugar is added to balance the flavors and create a bittersweet aftertaste. Seasonings such as mustard powder, allspice, nutmeg or lemon juice are mixed into the sauce to complement the main course. Finally, to thicken the sauce, cornstarch is added after it has been made into a paste with hot water.

Other ingredients that can help flavor a raisin sauce include red wine that is reduced with raisins, ginger, and butter. Capers can help make a sauce that works well with fish. Rum or cranberries can add a complex flavor to a dessert sauce. Chicken dishes can be complemented with a sauce that includes thinly diced tomatoes or pineapple.

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