Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cranberry Compote

I realize that this blog has strayed a bit from its original concept. The farm and its newest inhabitants have provided so much fodder for posts that the musings on omnivorous happiness have fallen by the wayside. I promise to reform my ways eventually--probably over the winter as my interest in cooking and all things indoors increases. For now, however, I'll simply offer up a recipe that we enjoy throughout the year but is especially good for Thanksgiving: Cranberry Compote.

The name of the recipe's author is a mystery to me. The recipe came to me by way of a friend, Leigh Hilger, who got it from a student in one of her nutrition classes. Would that I could thank its inventor by name. This wonderful dish works as a side or a dessert. It dresses up a dry or otherwise boring meat or fake meat dish (I eat a lot of Quorn patties when I don't have the time or inclination to cook a proper meal). As the Hungarians and the Moroccans know, meat and fruit go great together. It is also friendly to vegetarians, vegans, and those on a gluten-free diet. And it has the added bonus of being awfully darn healthy without feeling that way. So much so that it did what no other cranberry dish had done before: it knocked the canned jellied cranberry sauce off of our Thanksgiving menu.

Cranberry Compote

3 cups coarsely chopped peeled apples (granny smiths work well)
2.25 cups coarsely chopped peeled pears (red bartlett pears are my fave but bosc will do)
3/4 cup fresh apple juice ("cider")
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients except lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until fruit is tender. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve warm or cold.

That's it. Make a double batch and freeze the extra for when you need a quick side dish or dessert.

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