Opening day of the Portland Farmers Market was a beautiful, warm Spring day. When I came across the Cherry Country booth I thought about how nice it would be to have venison or some other game, then remembered that I have a dinner class coming up where I'll be serving lamb. Cherries are a classic sauce base for wild game, and older lamb sometimes has a hint of gaminess, so I thought I'd whip up a batch of cherry ketchup. I grabbed a 5.5-ounce bag of organic dried Bing cherries and headed for the kitchen.
5.5 oz./156 g dried Bing cherries
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon crystalized ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch Togarashi pepper
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼-½ cup water
Combine all the ingredients with ¼ cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cherries have softened and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes or so. Purée in a food processor, adding up to ¼ cup additional water, as needed. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors can get well acquainted, then bring to room temperature before adjusting the seasoning. Serve at room temperature.