Several years ago I had the pleasure to watch Food TV Chef, Bobby Flay, make a Fig Cascabel Chile Sauce and serve it on Grilled Lamb Porterhouse. I was taken with the idea of the flavor combination and since in my home the gang loves anything with lamb I thought about how to make a kosher version of this dish.
In order to make the original dish kosher, first I would have to use either lamb shoulder chops or ‘baby’ rack chops. Next problem, what to substitute for port wine? Since real port is a red wine from Portugal using specific grapes that make for a sweet wine that is then fortified with brandy, I needed something sweet. Tio Pepe makes a sherry wine, although its white, that works great. For kosher red wine vinegar either use Kedem or Chilean.
Be forewarned this sauce is a labor of love. It is a lot of work and takes several hours. The results are unequivocally worth it!
1 two ounce package of dried cascabel chilies, whole.
1 cup chopped dried Mission Figs (black ones)
½ cup fig soaking water
1 and ½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup Sherry
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
4 cup of chicken stock (homemade is best)
1 tablespoon honey
Place the dried Cascabel chilies in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Cool the chilies in the water for 20 minutes. Drain the water from the chilies. Press the chilies through a mesh sieve, placed over a clean bowl, to extract the pulp or the chile flesh and leave all the seeds, stems and skin behind. Set aside the bowl of extracted chile puree.
Remove the stems from the Mission figs and chop the figs in small dice. Place the figs in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them stand in the water for about 30 minutes. Drain the figs but be sure to save the water in a measuring cup. Place the softened figs in a food processor and add ½ cup of the soaking liquid. Pulse the figs and liquid until pureed.
Combine the red wine vinegar and Sherry in a medium non reactive saucepan and reduce by half over high heat. Add the sugar, orange juice, and fig puree. Simmer the mix and reduce by half again. Stir occasionally.
Combine the chile puree and the chicken stock in another saucepan. Boil and reduce by half over high heat. Combine the vinegar, fig reduction with the chicken stock and chile reduction in one saucepan. Add the honey. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce by one half again, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce to remove any seeds from the figs or lumps. Place the strained sauce (at this point you will; have about 2 cups of sauce) into a clean saucepan and reduce until the thickness you desire.