In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Continue cooking for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until sugar has caramelized. Watch carefully – sugar burns easily. When caramelized, add Madeira and stir until sugar mixture has dissolved.
Add stock or water and vanilla beans, simmer on stove until mixture has reduced by one-half. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour.
When ready to use, remove vanilla beans and reheat mixture, bringing it to a simmer. Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with water (or stock) and add to the sauce. Simmer 3 minutes, or until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Glaze meats or poultry before cooking, or coat poached poultry, cooked meats, or baked tofu with the glaze. Glaze can also be served warm in a gravy dish and added to foods as desired. Makes about 2 cups of glaze.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, use a rich stock instead.