Cherry Compote for Caroline

This is for my sweet and spicey friend. (adapted from my new favorite cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Luques)

In a piece of cheesecloth, gather a few sprigs of thyme, one bay leaf, 1 pepperoncino, 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, and 3 black peppercorns, and tie with cotton string.  Add slightly heaping 1/4 cup of sugar to a non aluminum saucepan, along with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then add 1/2 cup of red wine, and 1/2 cup of orange juice and 1 1/2 cups of pitted cherries.  Add the cheesecloth bundle.  Simmer about 7 or 8 minutes until the cherries are just tender. Strain cherries and reserve.  Reduce the liquid in the pan by setting it over a high heat until slightly thickened.  Strain.  Stir the cherries into the liquid.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Swirl in a tiny bit of butter.

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