Currants have an earthy, sweet taste that is often used in jellies in conjunction with another fruit.
They are sold by the pint at area farmers markets and at Whole Foods Markets. Raspberries also could be used, or, in a pinch, currant jelly or black currant juice (if you use jelly. If using a substitute, you may wish to adjust the amount of molasses in the recipe.
Make Ahead: The currant juice can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated or frozen. The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.
Servings: 1.5 - 1.8 cups
- For the juice
- 10 ounces (2 cups) red currants (may substitute 1 cup black currant juice or currant jelly; see headnote)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- For the sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced (3/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 canned chipotle pepper en adobo , minced (1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water, al ittle more if needed to thin the sauce
- 1 tablespoon cherry balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 or 2 tablespoons molasses
Rinse and stem the currants, then combine them in a medium saucepan with the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; most of the currants should pop and release their juices.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof liquid measuring cup, pushing the currants to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids; there should be about 1 cup of juice.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes until the tomato paste is fragrant, then add the currant juice, chipotle pepper en adobo, salt, water, balsamic vinegar and molasses to taste, stirring to combine. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes slightly syrupy and can coat the back of a spoon.
Strain if desired; the sauce can be used immediately, or cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
From Cynthia A. Brown, assistant director of Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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