I heart cheese
Shallot cranberry confit is your cheese course’s friend, and if you’re anything like me, that makes it an important friend to get to know.
What the Fluff Festival aide, if you give me a choice between a cheese course and dessert, I’m going with cheese. I simply adore it. Stinky cheeses, soft cheeses, hard cheeses, cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, buffalo’s milk cheeses.
My love of cheese vanquished my brief attempt to become a vegan. Like that time I briefly gave up coffee, once I went back to real cheese I didn’t look back. I’m like Wallace, if someone doesn’t like cheese, I’m dubious as to whether or not friendship is sustainable.
Unless I had cheese earlier in the day, I try to end my dinners with a little cheese. Cheese, of course, likes company. A bit more wine, some bread, a bit of fruit, nuts, maybe some honey, a bit of jam.
One of my favorite jams for cheese, a confit, really, comes from Martha Stewart. Her Shallot Cherry Confit makes a perfect accompaniment for cheeses (and is really good in sandwiches, too). I highly recommend trying it.
An autumnal idea: Shallot Cranberry Confit
I thought about making the Shallot Cherry confit to go with a lovely bit of small-batch camembert I have from Bell & Goose Cheese, but then I thought that it might be fun to mix things up a bit and make an autumnal version to honor the change in seasons.
I swapped the dried cherries for dried cranberries, the sherry vinegar for apple cider vinegar, the white sugar for brown, and added a bit of orange zest. If I do say so myself, it works.
Caramelizing shallots and onions, but don’t worry
Yes, you will be caramelizing shallots and onions, but don’t fret. You won’t have to stand over the oven stirring and stirring, praying that nothing burns. While not hands off, it’s not super hands on, either, and, so long as you go low and slow, and remember to check on it every few minutes or so, you’ll be fine. This will not be a problem; it smells amazing while it cooks. Do note that this gets filed under “brown food tastes good.”
Seasonal and delicious, your cheese course will thank you.
Recipe and video below.
Autumn Shallot-Cranberry Confit
- 1½ tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 oz shallots, quartered If your shallots are large (closer to small onion size), cut them down further, as necessary
- 1 small onion, cut into 4 wedges If you do not have an onion, you can just add more shallots. I've also omitted this before with no real harm done
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1 sprigs thyme In a pinch, you could use a bit of dried. A sprig of Rosemary might be good here, too.
- 1½ tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar preferably organic
- 2 tbsp warm water
- zest of half an orange preferably organic
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan with a lid over low heat (I use Le Crueset, so you may want medium-low heat, but better to have to turn it up than down), melt the butter
- Add the shallots, onion, cranberries, and thyme, and give everything a good stir to coat. Cover, and cook slowly until the shallots and onion are soft and start to caramelize. Start checking at 10 minutes. How long this takes varies a great deal, but once they are super soft and starting to brown, you're good.
- Add the brown sugar and stir. Cook until the shallots and onions are caramelized. Again, the time varies a lot, but start checking again after 8 minutes or so.
- Add the vinegar, warm water, and orange zest. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until liquid is cooked off and everything is brown and jammy. If it cooks off too quickly, just add a little more warm water. Remove the thyme sprig. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed
- Serve at room temperature