This cherry sauce is a wonderful companion to a variety of pork cuts. While unmistakably cherry forward it balances sweet, savory and tangy notes with a touch of herb essence.
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Read on for relevant information and pictures (3 mins)
About This Cherry Compote Recipe
At its core this sauce for pork is a classic cherry compote that we have modified by way of infusing savory notes in the beginning to make it better suited to accompany the taste of pork. The whole process of preparing it takes mere minutes and you can use fresh ripe cherries or frozen ones.
The resulting chunky cherry sauce tastes deeply satisfying and adds an appetizing, colorful accent to a pork loin roast, a platter of pork chops or sliced pork tenderloin.
DEFINITION: A compote is chunky fruit simmered in syrup with spices and other flavorings. It originated as a simple dessert in medieval Europe and over time thickened versions of it began to be served alongside meats.
Ingredients for Cherry Sauce Pork
Cherries. You will have equal success with fresh or frozen cherries. If fresh, make sure they are very ripe, if frozen rest assured they will taste as good as ripe (cherries are typically flash frozen at the peak of ripeness). It goes without saying that in both cases they should be pitted. If using your own cherry pitter for fresh cherries you are in control, but do take care to make sure the occasional pit is not still present with frozen ones.
Sugar. The flavor dark brown sugar lends to the sauce is far superior to that of refined white sugar, but you can use either one. You can also substitute with sweeteners such as coconut sugar, honey or agave syrup. The sugar is really being added to taste so feel free to ignore the quantities cited in the recipe card.
Flavorful liquid. If you were to take only cherries and cook them down with sugar they will release their own juices, but since this is a compote a bit of alcohol or juice both enhances the flavor and boosts the liquid base. We like to use (in the order listed):
- kriek (Belgian cherry ale),
- red wine,
- orange juice or
- balsamic vinegar mixed with a bit of water
Each one introduces different notes to the sauce. We commonly adjust the sugar added based on how sweet the liquid used is.
Butter, shallot, thyme and salt & pepper. These are the savory elements that are not typical for a compote. Together they work to tune down the sweetness of the cherry sauce and create a more sophisticated overall taste.
Step-by-Step Instructions Cherry Sauce
There are two main stages in making this sauce for pork. Be sure to have all your ingredients prepared before you begin.
Create the savory base. Over medium heat melt the butter and saute the finely diced shallot and thyme for about 2 minutes. Add the bourbon (or red wine etc.) to the saucepan and stir. Allow the liquid to reduce by about a third.
Cook the cherries. Add the cherries and the sugar to the saucepan. Stir and bring to simmer, do not boil. Cook until the fruit releases it juices and softens a bit. Taste the cherry mixture and season with salt and pepper as needed.
TIP: You can play with the consistency of the sauce by adding a bit more liquid than recommended or adding a bit of corn starch and cold water to thicken it if your cherries were really fresh and ripe and you were generous with how much liquid you added. You can also blend the finished sauce for a smoother texture.
Serving Ideas & Other Uses for This Cherry Compote
While this savory cherry compote is best served alongside lean and tender pork loin roasts and various pork chops its uses reach further.
- upscale pork sausages or combination of veal and pork sausages such as German weissswurst – simply grill or pan sear the sausages and serve with a side of the sauce
- duck – whether pan-seared duck breasts or whole roasted duck, this compote makes a perfect cherry sauce for duck
- charcuterie trays – whether only cheese boards or combination meat and cheese it is a wonderful addition
- precooked pork meatballs – you can use it as it or you may want to run it through the blender and then simmer the meatballs in it, cocktail style
- baked brie – spoon it over a wheel of brie cheese before wrapping it in puff pastry and baking it
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A classic compote cherry sauce with an infusion of savory notes to accompany pork cuts such as tenderloin, pork loin, thin or thick pork chops and ham.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked out
- 2 tbsp bourbon*
- 1 lb frozen cherries (or a bit over 1 lb fresh cherries)**
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar***
- salt and pepper, to taste, for seasoning
- Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and saute the shallot and thyme for about 2 minutes, until the shallot softens.
- Deglaze with the bourbon (or other flavorful liquid of your choice), stir the mixture. Allow the liquid to reduce by about a third.
- Add the cherries and the sugar. Stir and bring to simmer. If needed, lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer the cherries until they release their juices and soften a bit. About 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and season it with salt and pepper as needed. Serve alongside your choice of pork cut.
*You can substitute with the same amount of brandy; 1/4 cup red wine or kriek ale; 1/4 cup orange juice or 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar + 1 tbsp water. The idea is to infuse more flavor in the sauce. Each liquid will introduce its own notes, feel free to adjust the sugar you are adding.
**Before using examine the cherries to make sure they are 100% pitted.
***You can use regular white sugar or a sweetener such as honey or agave. Adjust the amount to taste, 1 1/2 tbsp is merely a guideline.
If you feel like you need to thicken the sauce either simmer it longer than specified or add a slurry of 1/2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 1/2 tbsp cold water.
If you need it to be more liquid, add a bit of water.
If you want it to be a smooth cherry sauce blend it with a handheld blender once cooked.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 130mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g
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