My simple sweet and sour sauce recipe creates a delicious meal when combined with pork, chicken, vegetables, meatballs, or spaghetti. You can easily adjust the sweet or the sour to suit your tastes.
That is the wonderful thing about a homemade meal. The recipes are easy to adapt and you get to select the ingredients you choose to use.
Today I am preparing this sauce with diced pork. It was originally my mother's recipe but over time it has been babied and refined till it became uniquely mine.
This is my not so secret sweet and sour sauce recipe and it is delicious. We all have our favorite recipes and this one is mine. You won't find it in any cookbook. It was passed down to me and now exists in my memory to be lovingly created each time I cook up a pot.
Ingredients for a Basic Sweet and Sour Sauce
Two cans of Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup (You can also add in one large can of stewed tomatoes if you enjoy a fuller meal)
2 heaping tablespoons of corn starch
1 cup of lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar will also work just fine). I often use half and half.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
Approximately three cups of water (add less for a thicker sauce and a little more if you prefer a more liquid version).
As I tend to add my meat into the sauce and then return the mix to the oven for further cooking, I generally prefer a more diluted sauce. When I am cooking the meat separate and using the recipe for a dipping sauce I then keep the mixture quite thick.
The Secret to the Success of This Recipe
Everyone's taste buds are different so you have to adjust this recipe to suit what you and your family will enjoy. Taste the sauce often as it simmers so that you are able to adjust it to your preferences.
Most sweet and sour recipes call for two parts of sweet for every one part of sour but you must judge whether you prefer yours to be a little on the sweet side or a little more on the sour.
If it is too sour then add more brown sugar. If it is too sweet then add more vinegar. If it is too bland add more of both or another can of tomato soup. If it is too thick add more water. If it is too thin add more corn starch mixture.
1. In a medium to large pot mix together a can of tomato soup and your corn starch. It is easy to mix the corn starch into this thick pasty condensed soup. Stir till it is smooth.
2. Stir the remaining ingredients into your pot.
3. Cook at medium to high heat stirring constantly till mixture thickens. After mixture comes to a boil reduce heat to a simmer. Now give the sauce a little taste.
4. Add more water as necessary and if the sauce is too sour then add more brown sugar. If it is too sweet then add a little bit more vinegar. Need more flavor then add in one more tin of tomato soup.
Allow sauce to simmer on the stove on low heat for around a half hour stirring occasionally. After this I generally add vegetables and then pour my sauce over cooked pork. I cover the pan and put the whole mixture back into the oven to bake for about an hour as this gives plenty of time for the sauce to penetrate the meat. The longer the sauce cooks or sits the tastier it is.
Add in a Few Natural Flavorings ie: Onion, Garlic, and Celery
While the basic sauce is simmering you have time to prepare a few secret ingredients that will magically transform this already delicious basic sweet and sour sauce into a little taste of pure heaven.
Each of these are optional ingredients and you need only add them if you want to spice up your recipe a little.
One large onion
Three spears of celery
One bulb of garlic
One medium green pepper
1/4 cup water
Three tablespoons butter (or trans-fat free margarine)
Cook Multiple Vegetables by Working First With the Ones That Require the Longest Cooking Time
Vegetables are precooked in a skillet to simmer till soft. However there is a specific order in which vegetables go into the pan. Luckily this process generally allows you ample time to dice the next vegetable to go into the pot.
Generally vegetables go into the pan ranked by the length of time they require to cook. Those that cook the longest go in first. The fastest cooking vegetables are added in last.
So get out your favorite skillet, set your temperature to a medium heat level, then add the water and butter into the pan. Your diced celery goes first into the pan, diced onion second, diced green pepper and garlic are the last in. Cover Your pan to allow the vegetables to simmer till soft.
Keep in mind the secret to the success of this recipe is that everyone's tastes buds are different. This allows you to adjust the amount and type of ingredients that you want to add into your sauce.
When the vegetables are soft but not overcooked, add them into the simmering pot of sweet and sour sauce. Simmer this mixture for around another half hour stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Now Create Your Meal Around The Sauce
Sweet and sour cubed pork?
Sweet and sour spareribs?
Sweet and sour chicken?
Sweet and sour vegetable medly?
Sweet and sour meatballs?
Sweet and sour rice?
Sweet and sour spaghetti?
Remember the secret of success for this sweet and sour sauce is that you are the judge on exactly what it is that you and your family prefer. Don't forget to add a little extra of this, or use a little less of that, to insure that this recipe turns out exactly how you like it.
Directions for my Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe
Recipes are Almost Always Adaptable!
The ultimate compliment for this recipe came the day that my mom asked for the recipe. I laughed and told her that she was the one I had gotten the recipe from. She was quite surprised and asked what I had done with it because it sure didn't taste like hers. Most recipes can be adapted to your preferences.
A good sauce can liven up a meal in the wink of an eye
It's yummy for the tummy
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