Double Cranberry Compote with Pears and Almonds
Makes about 4 cups
This sweet-tart condiment, made with both fresh and dried cranberries, can be prepared up to four days in advance.
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar (or to taste)
3/4 cup orange juice
12 ounces fresh cranberries
2 firm pears (such as Bosc or Anjou), cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (lightly toasted)
Honey, to taste (optional)
Orange zest or twists (optional garnish)
1. Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add dried cranberries or cherries, remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes to reconstitute berries. Place a colander over the bowl and drain, reserving cooking liquid and berries separately.
2. Return 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to saucepan, add sugar and vinegar. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
3. Add orange juice and fresh cranberries and cook over medium heat until cranberries begin to pop, about 5 minutes, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if mixture seems dry. Add pears and cook 1 minute. Add orange zest, almonds and the reconstituted berries and stir to blend.
4. Taste for seasoning; mixture should be thick (like marmalade), robust and slightly tangy. (Add more vinegar for a tangy flavor; for a sweeter compote, add 1 or more tablespoons honey.)
5. Remove from heat, cover and chill. Sprinkle with orange zest to garnish.