Apple Cider Vinegar & Black Pepper Sauce for Poultry, Pork, Salmon, & Polenta

This sauce is easy to make, keeps well for days, and is delicious with all types of poultry, pork, and even polenta, especially grilled polenta.

This sauce is easy to make, delicious, and pairs beautifully with many foods.

I developed this suave sauce originally to go with seared foie gras, which I served over apples sautéed in butter, something I rarely do these days, as Sonoma Foie Gras closed a number of years ago. Occasionally, I’ll serve it with terrine of foie gras, which is easier to find than raw foie gras. This photo, from The Good Cook’s Book of Salt & Pepper, shows the sauce with roasted chicken and spaghetti squash. At this year’s Gravenstein Apple Fair, I’ll be serving the sauce with Apple Remoulade and Quail Confit in the Artisan Tasting Tent on Sunday from 2:30 to 5:30 (get there early as quantities will be limited).


  • Serves 4 - 6
  • Cook Time: 15 Min


  • 3 cups apple juice, preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns, optional
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, preferably organic
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled


  1. Pour 2 cups of the apple juice into a medium saucepan, add the peppercorns, set over medium heat, and simmer until the juice is reduced to about 1/2 cup, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

  2. Add the remaining apple juice and the vinegar and reduce by two thirds, so that you have about ¾ cup sauce.

  3. Strain, discard the peppercorns, return to the saucepan and set over very low heat. Season with a generous pinch of salt, a few turns of black pepper and add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan until the butter just melts.

  4. Remove from the heat and use right away.

Best Uses: Over oven-roasted chicken thighs, grilled chicken, or, for an appetizer, chicken drummettes; with oven-roasted pork tenderloin served over sautéed apples; with grilled quail; with slow-roasted wild Pacific King salmon.

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