If you're looking to bring flavor and a little something special to a protein or vegetable in a quick and easy way, look no further than the glisten and beauty of a simple glaze! A glaze is a sauce that is cooked onto a protein or vegetable so that the sugars caramelize, get slightly sticky, and adhere to whatever it is that you're cooking.

Perfecting a glaze, like most cooking, is a matter of formula. There are three important/basic components to any good glaze:

  1. Some form of sugar—whether it be honey, granulated sugar, molasses, jelly, jam or preserves

  2. An aromatic element like ginger, lemongrass, garlic, miso—essentially a strong, distinct flavor

  3. A liquid such as soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, or broth of any variety (chicken, beef, pork, vegetable, etc.)

  4. And a bonus component, if it suits your taste, is something spicy for a little kick! Chipotle, chili flakes, harissa, hot sauce, all work well, and even jarred pepper jelly is a self contained glaze in itself—just add liquid!

When cooking with a glaze, your meat or vegetables need to be almost fully cooked through before applying the glaze. Apply it at the very end of cooking process, as prolonged cooking can cause the high sugar content to burn and become bitter. When grilling or broiling, brush the glaze with a pastry brush, or when cooking in a pan, pour the glaze in, allow it to simmer and reduce until it becomes sticky in the pan.

We're big fans of glazes in the Martha & Marley Spoon test kitchen. On our upcoming menu is a beautiful fall dish featuring pork chops, squash, and brussels sprouts, topped with a variation on a glaze called Agrodolce, an Italian convention that combines sweet and sour to make something wonderful. Get your first box for $30 off and add this dish after checkout!

pork_chops_badge_11 pork chops and squash with brussels sprouts agrodolce Agrodolce is a traditional Italian sweet and sour sauce, made with vinegar and sugar and turns into a syrupy glaze. We’ve added raisins, chopped shallots, and a touch of crushed red pepper for a bit of sweet heat. Pork chops are seared to a beautiful golden brown, and the veggies come together when tossed in the agrodolce.

This past week, three recipes were delivered in your boxes that also highlight this treasured sweet & sticky technique. Find the recipes below, plus 6 more of our favorites from our archives. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

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maple glazed chicken with brussels sprouts & red onion Glazed chicken can feel like the ultimate decadence, but in reality, maple syrup and fresh orange juice provide a lovely all-natural sweetness that is balanced by a little heat from crushed red pepper. Brussels sprouts and red onion are roasted to crisp perfection as the perfect accompaniment to tender chicken.

fo_sku1082_web miso-glazed tofu & carrots with greens, grains, and furikake We think this dish is as fun to eat as it is to say! Furikake is a Japanese seasoning condiment that packs loads of sweet, salty, and briny flavor. It’s usually sprinkled over rice, but we love how it transforms tofu into something super special.

fs_sku0861_web sweet and sticky chicken with bok choy and rice The secret to this dish is a brown sugar syrup infused with fresh ginger. A few other special additions (tamari and rice vinegar) transform this caramel glaze into the most flavorful sweet and savory coating for chicken. All you’ll want on the side are tender steamed bok choy and sticky rice to soak up the sauce. This meal is what we always hope Chinese takeout will taste like: super flavorful and elegant.

http://blog.marleyspoon.com/2015/08/19/sticky-glazed-salmon/

http://blog.marleyspoon.com/2016/03/08/miso-glazed-chicken-brussels-with-pickled-radish-rice/

http://blog.marleyspoon.com/2016/03/22/sticky-wings-and-iceberg-wedges-with-creamy-dressing/

http://blog.marleyspoon.com/2016/09/01/tamari-glazed-tofu-bok-choy-with-sesame-rice/

http://blog.marleyspoon.com/2016/07/06/honey-mustard-chicken-with-potato-celery-and-apple-salad/

http://blog.marleyspoon.com/2016/07/06/miso-cod-bamboo-rice-with-sesame-spinach-2/