Cherries are in season from June through August in North America, and there is nothing quite like biting into a sweet, fresh cherry. Everyone knows cherry pie, it’s a classic. But how about turning tradition on its head and doing savory cherries?
This recipe uses cherries in a unique and delicious way – a compote over couscous. The subtle flavor of shallot and the crunch of pecans temper the sweet cherries with earthiness. A splash of red wine adds depth and fresh summer herbs rosemary and thyme round out the dish. This is an elegant and unexpected preparation of a summertime favorite.
Serve Savory Cherry Compote over couscous or your favorite grain as a vegan side dish. Gluten-free couscous is available from Lunberg, it’s made of brown rice and tastes great. Compote is also wonderful over steamed brown rice, pan-seared tofu steaks or baked sweet potato discs. Using fresh cherries does take a little prep time – you have to stem and pit them by hand. It’s worth the extra work when you taste this recipe, though! In a pinch for time? Use frozen and thawed sweet cherries.
- 1 cup couscous and 2 cups water, or follow box directions
- 1/2 cup shallot, finely minced
- 1 Tbl. grapeseed oil
- 4 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 Tbl. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 Tbl. fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry red wine or port wine
- pinch white pepper
- pinch nutmeg
- salt, to taste
- Prepare couscous (or grain of choice) according to package directions. Typically, couscous is made with 1 cup dry pasta to 2 cups boiling water ratio. It cooks very quickly. Add a pinch of salt if you like.
- In a large saucepan, warm grapeseed oil and minced shallots. Saute over medium heat about 3 to 5 minutes, until shallots are wilted and soft.
- Add pitted cherries, chopped pecans, rosemary, thyme, wine, white pepper, nutmeg and salt. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes. As the wine and cherry juice reduces, the liquid will reach an almost syrupy consistency and the cherries will soften slightly.
- Serve warm over hot couscous.
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