Compote Made with Grapes
Three things have me coming back to this recipe time and time again. For one thing, preparation is easy. Also, this is an incredibly versatile dish. Most importantly, if you are planning on serving it at a party, it can be made ahead of time.
This is inspired by a recipe from Culinary Communion.
- 1 – 2 pounds of pitted cherries*
- herbs of your choice – either a couple of sprigs of rosemary or thyme, or 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- 1 head of garlic, cloves removed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of salt
- approximately 1/2 bottle red table wine
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Place fruit, herbs, garlic, olive oil, and salt in a medium baking dish or Pyrex bowl. Pour enough wine so that it is level with the top of the fruit. Place dish in oven and cook for about 45 minutes until wine is syrupy. Check on the dish periodically, and if it is getting overly brown around the edges or cooking down too fast, cover it with foil.
You can serve this dish warm as an accompaniment to an entree – anything from chicken to pork. Or, allow the dish to cool and serve it with a cheese platter.
* If cherries aren’t in season, substitute seedless red grapes removed from the stems. Fresh figs are also wonderful in this dish; simply cut each fig in half. Or, try green grapes and white wine.
Grape Compote Before Roasting
One of the “rules” of wine pairing says that the wine you serve should be as sweet, or sweeter than, the food you are serving. It is true that I often break some of the traditional wine pairing guidelines. However, this is a rule I abide by, because food that is sweeter than the wine will tend to accentuate the acid, astringency, and bitterness in the wine. Who wants that? So here are a couple of things to consider. Are you serving this compote along side meat or cheese, thereby making the dish more savory? Then it should stand up to a red wine. Or are you serving this over ice cream for dessert? Then consider pouring a port. These factors will affect the overall sweetness of the food, so be sure to think about that before selecting what you pour in your glass. In most cases, the wine you used in the dish will likely be a good drinking companion.