Balsamic reduction “is my new obsession,” says purple goddess. It’s great as a marinade for lamb, a sauce for fresh strawberries, a dipping sauce. “I’ve even reduced it further, to almost toffee, and drizzled it over bacon!” she adds. “It’s my secret ingredient in curries, too. It gives them a colour and a lift, and no one can guess what it is.”

purple goddess reduces low-to-mid-range balsamic vinegar by slow-boiling it with raw sugar and star anise, though honey and cinnamon work well too, she says. janniecooks leaves out the sugar. “I find that the balsamic reduction, even when using the common lower-cost brands available in the grocery, is quite syrupy and sweet enough on its own without adding any other sweetener,” she says. And don’t reduce it too much. A common mistake is to reduce balsamic until it is so thick you have to heat it before it can flow at all, says bigfellow.

A final tip: “If you’re going to try it, make sure you use a pot bigger than you think you’ll need, and use a wooden spoon for stirring,” says purple goddess. “Once that sucker comes to the boil, and you put the spoon in to stir, it can bubble up like nobody’s business!”

Board Link: Bacon overload. What should be next?

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