Harvest Berry Piquant Sauce

In my youth freshly baked gingersnap cookies were number two on my list of favored delicious after school aromas wafting from my mother's kitchen. Number one you may ask?  Meatloaf.  Not because of the meat. Nope. Two words. Piquant sauce.

Yes, that ketchupy brown sugar deliciousness had me before my little hightops had boarded the bus for home. So much, it was common knowledge among the household that if meatloaf remnants remained in the fridge I would skin the entire piquanty goodness clean off the poor little roast. Occasionally this would occur prior to the meatloaf reaching the dinner table. Emphasis on occasionally.

Luckily, I'm older, wiser and...I make extra sauce. Below is my spin on my coveted meatloaf topping of choice.

I use berries in my piquant sauce because I avoid nightshades, ie. tomatoes. You can sub in tomatoes if you wish. Other options include frozen berries instead of fresh or you can use berry juice. If you use berry juice you will need to cook the sauce a bit longer.

Additionally, I do start my base using bacon. If you are vegan or vegetarian or just don't eat pork feel free to leave it out. A former vegan and vegetarian it will still taste delicious. If you do abstain from the bacon add more salt or a little Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce for flavor and to compensate for the lack of the bacon's saltiness.

Well there you have it folks. Recipe follows below. This sauce would be delicious thrown on some savory holiday phyllo veggie rolls minus the bacon part of course. Another option is to slathered it over a lentil mushroom loaf.

Harvest Berry Piquant Sauce

makes 2 half pint jars

*vegan/vegetarian option skip to step 2 and omit bacon

  • 1/2 cup of bacon cubed or use 2-3 tablespoons of oil or fat of your choice
  • 1 large red onions  finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cups of mixed berries (I used raspberries, black currants and grapes) or 1.5 cups of berry juice or 1 cup of tomatoes chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
  • pinch each of ground cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns & coriander
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use only if omitting the bacon)
  • salt to taste

1. Put the bacon over medium low heat and cook until crispy. Remove to paper towel and save fat!!! Freeze or refrigerate the bacon now for another use

2. Put fat in a large wide cast iron or stainless steel skillet.  Do NOT use nonstick and do NOT use a cover!  Add the onions and cook over medium to medium high heat.  Stir over medium heat and sweat the onions down till a light golden amber color approximately 20-25 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and berries (or tomatoes or juice or whatever you are using) and return to medium high heat. When the mixture becomes bubbly reduce to medium/ medium low heat. Maintain at a simmer for approximately 20 minutes stirring occasionally. If you are used the juice at this point you will need to simmer for 10 or more additional minutes.

4. Add the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and spices and vegan optional soy sauce or Braggs and simmer on medium/medium low heat for 5-10 additional minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching and sticking.

5. Taste the sauce and add more vinegar or maple syrup depending upon your desired tastes. Generally I err on the side of sweeter. Add additional salt if necessary.