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As the reality of a harsh and cold winter starts to settle in, a glass of sweet and warming port can bring at least some sense of ease to the occasion. With the chill hitting earlier than normal here in New York this year, I turned to port to serve as what I consider my first real winter sauce.
I decided to go with the classic combo of a cherry and port that contrasts tart cherries against sweet port, with a double dose of fruit that gives a well-rounded and full-bodied flavor.
I also added a small amount of balsamic vinegar when making this reduction, as well as some shallots, both which lent their own sharpness, giving an added intensity to the final sauce.
This paired excellently with grilled peppered duck breast, where the lightly flavored meat really let the sauce stand out, but it's also hefty enough to mingle well with heavier contenders like beef or game too, and can even go as far as topping ice cream and other desserts—although you may find omitting the shallots and upping the sugar a better interpretation for use on sweets.