Summary: When fall approaches, the canner in me starts to envision hearty sweet-savory compotes rather than summer fruit jams. This compote just screams out to be enjoyed with grilled or roasted meat on a cool evening, atop hot polenta and taleggio and would also be absolutely wonderful on your Thanksgiving table. The concord grape base nicely supports the addition of rosemary, garlic, black grapes and brown sugared-pine nuts and the flavors interplay in a truly sublime way.
Yield: about 1½ cups
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups Concord grapes
- 1/4 cup unrefined, granulated sugar
- zest of 1/2 an orange
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and fresh pepper
- 3/4 cup black grapes
To make the sugared pine nuts and the concord grape base: In a small skillet set over medium-high heat, toss together the pine nuts and brown sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is melted, the nuts are evenly coated and the whole mess is beginning to brown, just a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium saucepan or stock pot, toss together the grapes and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes, stirring and also mashing (with a potato masher or the like), until the sugar is dissolved, the grape skins are largely separated from the grapes and you've got a nice bit of juice.
Ready a food mill with the medium disk, and run the grape mixture through it. You should end up with about 1 cup of juice and pulp. If you can retrieve any seed-free grape skins, grab them and toss them in with the juice- yum! Pour this mixture into a 2 quart saucepan.
Set this saucepan over medium-high heat, and when hot, add the orange zest, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil, continuing to stir regularly so that nothing scorches.
After about 10 minutes, add in the black grapes. After about 10 more minutes, add in the reserved sugared pine nuts, stirring to combine well. Cook a few more minutes, and then pour into a serving bowl, or a glass dish with a cover. Refrigerate for up to a week or ten days; or freeze until you want it.