Ciders are so hot right now and breweries all over the globe are getting in on the game. Basically just apples and yeast, ciders were the American drink of choice early on—it was a lot easier for pilgrims to throw some apples in a barrel and let mother nature make booze than to acquire all the equipment and expertise to make beer.
This week, we’re using cider to put a twist on a super-traditional Italian meat condiment: Mostarda di Cremona (a.k.a. Mostarda di Frutta). It combines fresh fruit and dried fruit cooked down in a bath of cider, mustard and sugar. And if we’re being completely honest, the real reason we made this is because it’s meant to be served with its traditional companion Bollito Misto, which means boiled meats. All the meats.
We served this mostarda atop boiled beef shank, beef short ribs, a roasting hen and some gigantic sausages. And we’re so glad we did! The result is a spicy, tangy, fruity condiment that elevates meats and cheeses to amazing new heights and will become a regular booze-infused condiment in our kitchen.
Cider Mostarda di Cremona
1 6-ounce package dried apricots
1 5-ounce package dried cherries
2 cups cider
Water (to cover)
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1 ½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
3 bay leaves
Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for roughly 45 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the dried fruits look rehydrated.
Allow to cool back to room temperature and serve on meat, cheese or any other food you want to make better.