Sundays with Sparky: Sour Cherry Relish

Sundays with Sparky: Sour Cherry Relish

This Thanksgiving, we had to get a bit creative: one of our guests was on anticoagulant therapy, which is not necessarily compatible with holiday dishes.  We played around with the menu, removing my beloved leafy greens in favor of root vegetables and beans, but the problem that stuck was what to do about cranberry sauce?  Doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving without it, right?

So I trotted off to the internet to find an acceptable substitute.  Unfortunately, lingonberries, rhubarb and currants have the same anticoagulant effect as cranberries, so all of those were out.  I finally found that sour cherries, in moderation, are a relatively safe substitute (although if this is a concern for you, please check with your doctor.)

008Sour cherries are available fresh for a very short time, but if you happen to live near an ethnic market that serves Eastern Europeans, they are frequently available frozen.  We had to compensate for the cherry’s relative lack of pectin, so we used an apple – cooking the core and peel with the cherry juice until it thickened, then adding diced apples and chopped cherries back in.

300 grams frozen pitted sour cherries, chopped loosely (about 2/3lb)
3 tbsp vanilla sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 very firm, tart apple such as Granny Smith
Zest of 1 orange or 2 clementines

I chopped the cherries and put them in a pan with the orange juice and sugar over low heat until the cherries released their juice.  We then strained off the cherry meat and reserved it.

013In the meantime, Sparky peeled and cored the apple, cutting the pieces into small dice.  015The apple core and peel went into the cherry juice and simmered there until it reduced by about half.

We then removed the core and peel, added the apples and the cherry meat back to the pot, and simmered until the apples were barely fork-tender and the juice foamed up instead of boiling. We added the orange zest, allowed it to cool,  and served it up along with the cranberry sauce, where I was surprised to find it was preferred almost 2 to 1.  Enjoy!


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