Rosemary, ahh, I do love this herb. It has spiky, rather substantial leaves, a heady, strong, complex aroma and flavor. It’s great on lamb, pork, fish and game, rubbed into chicken or your Thanksgiving turkey or sprinkled over potatoes (or other root vegetables), that are then roasted to crispy perfection. There’s something wintry about this herb, though I use it all year-long and prime rib, wouldn’t be as good as it can be, without rosemary. Rosemary is a substantial herb with huge flavor; it is a member of the mint family. It has character and strength, with its scent that just hints at eucalyptus and a tad pine-y; it adds warmth to any dish in which you use it. It is used in Italian, French and Spanish cooking. I always throw a sprig into a paella. It is said to help simulate the flavor of the snails that are used in Spain, but unavailable here. Whether that’s true or not, who cares? I just know I like paella better with it, than without it! It pairs well with tarragon, sage, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, savory, garlic, and lemon and orange. It is a great way to flavor olive oil.
Rosemary grows on a woody, pine-like evergreen. I have used the strong, woody stems as skewers to grill chunks of meat or vegetables and it imparts an excellent nuance of flavor when sprinkled over the hot coals of a grill. In the Mediterranean area, it grows almost wild. Many varieties are very sensitive to cold and I can never seem to get it to over-winter under lights, but that’s my problem. I do prefer to use fresh rosemary leaves, but it does dry quite well, though it has a much stronger flavor dried than when used fresh. You can dry it quite easily yourself, by simply tying bunches loosely together and letting them hang for a bit.
Use to season lamb, beef, pork, roasted potatoes, carrots, stews, sauces, fish, poultry, breads, sautéed apple wedges and rice pilafs. I’m sure there are more things, but this may keep you busy for awhile.
In lore, rosemary is best known as a symbol for love and remembrance. Apparently, Greek brides have been known to wear it in their hair.
Cider-Rosemary Reduction Sauce
- 6 cups unsweetened apple cider, divided
- 2 6-8 inch sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3-4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider
Place a large, flat pan or skillet over a medium-high flame. Add 3 cups of cider, the rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until reduce by half, about 20-25 minutes. Add 2 cups of the remaining apple cider; boil rapidly until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of apple cider; boil rapidly until reduced by half. The mixture will be dark (molasses colored) and syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat; whisk in the remaining balsamic vinegar and apple cider. Let cool completely; the mixture will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator; will keep for weeks.
Cider-Rosemary Reduction Sauce Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
This is lovely to have on hand. I like it drizzled over lamb chops, steaks, pork chops or over a nice, juicy hamburger, like this one. In this instance, I prefer raw onion to caramelized onion, because it would be overly sweet for my taste buds.
This is incredibly easy to make. I made it while I seasoned the ground beef, formed them into patties, and I cut them into wedges, seasoned them and popped them in the toaster oven and baked them. You do need to watch this mixture, but not too closely. You just don’t want to over reduce it. If that happens, add the next increment of cider and don’t reduce that leg-of-our-redcution-journey quite as much. I’m not certain if this is clear. If not, ask, because I really want you to make this. It is incredibly good and versatile. When the reduction mixture begins to boil, the bubbles will be very small, resembling foam.
The bubbles will become larger as the mixture reduces. The larger bubbles will appear almost sticky. This is the indicator that the mixture is ready for one of the additions of cider or that it’s done and ready to use. Remember to add the last addition of apple cider and balsamic vinegar (after all the reducing!) or the reduction will cool to an almost jelly-like consistency, which is excellent to spread on scones with diced black olives added, if that’s what you want to do. Here we have a nice drizzle on some roasted sweet potatoes “slabs” that were sprinkled with salt, garlic granules, a few grindings of fresh pepper and rosemary. I used oil from the garlic confit and some bacon drippings. The finishing touch, a dusting of smoked paprika.
I made pan-fried chicken thighs a couple of days ago, so I sliced the leftover thighs, sautéed some peppers and onions, then drizzled the sandwich with some of the apple cider reduction. The rosemary in the reduction reinforced the rosemary I added to the meat and sweet potatoes. It was yummy.
This is for you, The Unbound Reader, with love (and remembrance)!