Jazz up your holiday roasts with one unexpected ingredient!
If you’re anything like us, you’ve always got a few different jars of jam in the fridge. Jam is brilliant in the mornings, on toast or yogurt; in baking treats like sandwich cookies, tarts, or jam crostatas; and even as a quick dessert topping over vanilla ice cream or gelato. But there’s one more way this little gem can help out around the holidays: on your roasts!
That’s right: the sweet fruit flavor of your favorite jam is actually just the thing to make a roast special. Giada loves this trick to add caramelization, moisture, and a no-fuss pan sauce all at the same time. The process is oh-so simple: when your roast has about 10 to 15 minutes left in the oven, quickly spoon or brush a few tablespoons of your favorite jam overtop. In the heat of the oven, the jam will melt into the savory meat, creating a luscious glaze. Any excess jam will combine in the bottom of the pan with the cooking juices, creating a nifty sauce to serve alongside your roast - like in our Cherry Jam Glazed Pork Roast, pictured below.
You can also use this trick with fresh fruit or fruit juice and a little sugar; just cook it down on the stovetop until it becomes syrupy before glazing the roast. This is what Giada does for her pomegranate glazed pork—as a bonus, the juice mixture can be boosted with spices or herbs to add an extra layer of flavor.
Adding fruit to meat dishes is a classic Italian cooking technique, making full use of the gorgeous seasonal fruit that thrives throughout the country. In wintertime in the northern regions, dried fruits and nuts are often used to liven up hearty cold-weather dishes, and mostarda, a sweet-and-spicy fruit preserve, is served with boiled meats. The combination of sweet-tart fruit with the umami of the meat is an enticing, palate-provoking flavor that can perk up a heavy, rich meal. No wonder it’s been a feast favorite for centuries!
The best part about this trick is that it’s less a recipe than a technique, so you can experiment with flavors that sound best to you. Not sure where to start? A few classic combinations include apricot or cherry + pork, blueberry + duck, and orange or lemon + turkey or chicken. Now you’ve got one more brilliant use for the high-quality Italian jams from the Piedmont hills in the Giadzy shop.