Chef Watson and the Russian Sour Cherry Barbecue Sauce

Back in February, I wrote about Cognitive Cooking, a project that I work on at IBM wherein computers help humans create flavorful, never-seen before recipes, such as this Baltic apple pie or this Russian beet salad. We’ve been quite busy since then, and our prototype, renamed Chef Watson, is getting ready for prime time. We released our first beta of the application to the public about a month ago, in partnership with Bon Appetit magazine. You can read all about it here, and register here.

One Chef Watson creation that’s drawn a fair amount of attention is the Bengali butternut BBQ sauce, a recipe that we designed just before the IBM food truck went to SXSW. But we actually tested two recipe ideas back then at the Institute of Culinary Education. The second one, a Russian sour cherry sauce, was never completed because we decided to go with the first one, but I still felt that it could be a great recipe with a little more tweaking of the proportions. Plus, it fits this blog’s theme perfectly! So I worked on a few more batches myself.

This sauce goes very well with lamb, and probably waterfowl too, given the classic pairing of duck and cherries. I’ve also tried it with a pork shashlyk that might be the subject of a coming post.

Chef Watson - Cherry Barbecue SauceRussian sour cherry barbecue sauce
Yields about 450 g (1 pint)

85 g peeled onion, sliced
10 g butter
0.8 g ground ginger
0.8 g celery seeds
2.4 g salt
0.7 g black pepper, ground
2.4 g vanilla extract
160 g pitted sour cherries
40 g strawberries
20 g dijon mustard
5 g Worcestershire sauce
11 g red wine vinegar
14 g honey
100 g water
6 g basil, finely chopped
6 g parsley, finely chopped

  • In a pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in the butter until soft. Add the ginger and celery seeds, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Transfer to a blender, and add the salt, pepper, vanilla, cherries, strawberries, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and honey. Blend until smooth, then add the water and process again.
  • Transfer to a plastic container, and mix in the basil and parsley.
  • Refrigerate (the sauce can be kept for a week or so). Take out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Chef Watson - Cherry Barbecue Sauce

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