DEAR SOS: I've been looking for a recipe for Brandied Figs but have not found one. My co-workers say you can help--I sure hope so.
DEAR ARDIE: We had little hope, until we pushed the right button. And there, in our brandied fruit file were the figs, which are presently in season. Prepare them now for holiday gifts and parties later on in the year.
2 1/2 cups brandy
5 pounds firm figs
5 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
Pour brandy into jar and place in hot water to heat. Carefully wash figs and, if tough-skinned, peel. Pierce each fig in 2 or 3 places with large needle to prevent collapsing.
Combine sugar and water and cook until sugar dissolves. Add figs and boil gently 6 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
Remove figs from syrup with slotted spoon and place in hot, sterilized pint jars set in hot water. Boil syrup rapidly 5 to 8 minutes to thicken.
Pour 1/2 cup hot brandy over figs in each jar and fill to within 1/8 inch of top with boiling hot syrup. Seal jars at once. Makes about 5 pints.
DEAR SOS: Is there anyone who knows of a good recipe for German sauerbraten? There are not many restaurants presenting beef in this wonderful way, and German restaurants are few and far between in Los Angeles.
DEAR CHARLIE: True, German restaurants are few and far between in the Los Angeles area, but most do serve this excellent cold weather dish that also is ideal for holiday entertaining. Thanks for reminding us.
SAUERBRATEN WITH GINGERSNAP GRAVY
1 (4-pound) chuck roast
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups sliced onions
3/4 cup sliced, peeled carrots
3/4 cup sliced celery
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, minced
6 whole peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2 whole allspice
2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup flour
20 gingersnaps, finely crushed
Place meat in large bowl. Combine red wine and cider vinegars, 1 cup water, onions, carrots, celery, 3 teaspoons salt, garlic, peppercorns, cloves and allspice in large saucepan. Bring to boil. Pour over meat in bowl. Cover and refrigerate 24 to 48 hours, as time allows or as desired.
Remove meat and drain well (reserve marinade). Pat dry with paper towel. Heat shortening in heavy Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add meat and brown well on both sides. Sprinkle sugar over meat.
Strain marinade and pour 1 cup over meat. Add vegetables and spices to meat. Cover and cook over low heat about 3 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove meat from pan and keep warm. Strain pan drippings and skim off fat. Add remaining marinade, as needed to make 3 cups liquid and return to Dutch oven.
Combine flour, remaining 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Stir until smooth. Stir into liquids in pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.
Stir in gingersnaps. Heat through. To serve, slice meat and spoon gravy over top. Makes 10 to 12 servings.