Fresh red currant sauce is great to pair with meats (like pork and venison), poultry (like duck and chicken, and fish (like swordfish and salmon) and it’s also easy to make! So, when you see baskets of red currants at the farm stand or farmers’ market, pick them up and make sauce.
What to make with red currants?
One of my favorite things about summer is stopping by a farm stand and picking up something a little unusual! Fresh red currants are not something I often see, and never at the supermarket, so when I saw baskets of them at my local farm I snatched them up.
The only question was what to make? A dessert? Muffins? Jam?
But I’ve been making enough sweets lately, so I decided to go with an old favorite – tangy fresh red currant sauce to have with dinner. This is a recipe I developed years ago, but haven’t made too many times (see above about not finding fresh currants often). Now was the time to make it again and I hope you find some currants and can make too!
What are red currants?
- Red currants are a type of gooseberry native to Europe, though there are varieties found in Asia and North America.
- They range in color from red to white/clear. Obviously the white currants are called white, but they have the same flavor and can be used in the same ways.
- Red currants are TART. Think a little sweeter form of cranberries. (At least the ones I get are always tart. There may be sweeter varieties elsewhere.)
- They can sometimes be found in supermarkets in US, but more often at farm stands and farmers’ markets.
- All currants were banned in the US in 1911 since they were thought to carry white pine rust (a disease of pines). It is only recently we’ve dropped the ban in most areas. Some states still ban them (I’m sorry West Virginia and North Carolina!) and others, like Massachusetts where I’m from, require a permit.
How do you make savory red currant sauce?
To make a savory red currant sauce combine red currants with port, orange, garlic, shallots, and vinegar. Cook the sauce until done, then strain, and reduce. Taste and add sugar as needed.
If you try my recipe for Fresh Red Currant Sauce, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Fresh Red Currant Sauce for Meat and Fish
- 2 cups fresh red currants, washed
- 1 cup port, preferably ruby port
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp orange zest, optional
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar, or to taste
- *There is no need to stem the currants.*
- Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids.
- Pour the sauce back into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by about half, around 10 minutes.
- Taste and add more sugar if needed.
- Orange zest: If you choose not to add the orange zest, add 2 tablespoons of orange juice to the saucepan instead.
- Currants: You can use all red currants or a mix of red and white currants in the sauce.
- Herbs: I don't use any herbs in the sauce. However, a sprig or two of fresh thyme and/or rosemary is a nice addition. Add the herbs with the rest of the ingredients at the beginning.