In Tyrian recipes, my beloved Omnom- a.k.a. Cranberries are mostly used in a sweet’ish kind of way. Ever since I’ve settled on using Cranberries in place of Tyria’s Omnomberries, and by doing so, inadvertently opened the door for myself to twist, tweak and turn around the related recipes in all directions, I’ve been running haywire in my kitchen whenever I pick an Omnomberry recipe to play with. Let’s hear it for snap decisions opening up endless possibilities!
Anyways, as these things sometimes turn out, I had too many ideas in my head involving the humble Omnomberry Compote…
…ranging from sweet desserts to hearty main dishes and back again. To take myself out of the headspace-spiral for a breather, I decided to skip the conceptual dishes and share one of my favorite condiments with you guys – something that works beautifully on a slice of bread, with a handful of crisps or dipping-veggies, as an accompaniment for grilled or pan-seared meats or as a fruity highlight on a cheese platter. Here’s my (in-)famous Cranberry & Pepper Chutney~!
The Omnomberry Compote
75g Shallot, finely chopped
100g fresh Cranberries – if you’re using frozen – unsweetened! – Cranberries, don’t defrost them before using them
70g dried Cranberries
115g Light Muscovado Sugar
30ml Aged Balsamic Vinegar
½ Tsp freshly cracked Black Pepper
4 Tbsp Preserved Green Peppercorns – make sure they’re preserved in salt brine or a lightly vinegared brine and steer clear of the oily or vinegar-only ones
1 heaped Tsp dried Rosemary Needles
½ Tsp Sea Salt
1) Set a heavy-based pot onto medium heat.
2) Add the butter and leave it to melt.
3) Once the butter has dissolved, add the shallot cubes and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt.
4) Sautée them for about 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender and start to take on a golden color.
5) Deglaze the pot with the vinegar and add the sugar. Stir the lot until the sugar has dissolved.
6) Stir in the remaining ingredients until everything’s evenly distributed.
7) Leave the mixture to simmer down, uncovered, for about 20 mins until the fresh berries have all popped open. Stir from time to time to make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom of the pot in an attempt to ruin your delicious chutney. <insert stern stare at the dried cranberries here>
8) From that point on, start stirring more frequently and have an eye on the consistency.
9) If you’ve never made a jam of some sort before, hitting the golden spot might be a bit iffy. While the chutney may seem to be a bit too runny for comfort due to the hot sugar, it will thicken up more as it cools down. However, should you be looking at watery stuff seeping back into a wooden-spoon-drawn-line on the bottom of your pot, you’re not there yet.
You’re golden when the chutney has thickened enough to slowly drip off your spoon in sheets… chunky sheets, that is.
10) If you’ve taken it too far, stir in some cranberry juice.
11) Pick up a teaspoonful and spread it out a little on a small plate or saucer. Give it 1-2 mins to cool down to non-tastebud-scalding levels, then have a taste. Depending on the quality of the cranberries you might need to adjust the seasoning with more pepper, salt or vinegar. The green pepper should be recognizable but not overpowering the cranberries, the black pepper should leave a slight zing and the very-berry sweetness should be right on par with the vinegary acidity.
12) I always stir in roundabout 1 more Tsp of the green peppercorns once the chutney’s completely done, just to add a couple of fresh pops to bite down on. That’s not everybody’s cup of tea though, so make sure you taste-test the “raw” peppercorns as well before going ahead with that one.
13) Fill the chutney into sterilized jam jars and seal them.
14) Store them in a cool spot of your kitchen – they’ll keep 4-5 weeks while they’re sealed. Once you’ve opened a jar, it will keep for a week if you keep it refrigerated.
The last time I’ve made this one, it kept us company through an entire dinner – it tagged along with a gang of green asparagus spears on a starter-salad, snuggled up to spicy, seared ostrich steaks and sautéed green beans and topped off a couple of goat’s cheese slices to perfectly round off the meal. And now I’ve just gone and talked myself into a serious chutney-crave it seems… Time to head to the store~!
I know this version of a Tyrian compote lacks the Sweets context a “Compote” generally relates to, but there’s a really sweet – in more than one way – Sweet coming your way next sunday!