Friday, January 9, 2009

Wild Huckleberry Sauce

Sauce, sauce, sauce, sauce, sauce.

I love sauces. I love gravies. I love jus. They're the reason I cook. A good sauce can transform any meal.

I've had people tell me that, "Oh, I'm sorry I don't care for (fill in the blank), but I'll just try a taste." As soon as the sauce hits their taste buds, their protests evaporate. Sauce can make you forget you don't like fish. Sauce can turn you into a hunter when it comes to venison. Sauce can turn lamb into your "special" event dinner.

So guess what I'm going to make today?

Yuppers, a sauce. But not just any sauce. Today it's fruit sauce. And not something pedestrian like apple-mint jelly; nope, today we're going exotic. Today it's huckleberries.


"Where in God's name am I going to get huckleberries?" you ask.

I'll get to that.

Huckleberries are small, sweet-tart berries, usually found in colder climates; they seem to grow especially well in the Pacific Northwest, on the lower slopes of mountains. The two biggest problems with huckleberries are finding them and not getting eaten by bears, who also really like them.

Since I don't like tangling with bears, I get mine off the internet. Northwest Wild Foods, Co. can ship you berries as well as assorted honeys, jams and gift packs. If ordering frozen berries off the internet is too "out there" for you, you can always use frozen blueberries. It's not exactly the same, but close enough. Just make sure your berries haven't been dusted with sugar before freezing. If so, drop the added sugar in this recipe and be prepared to ramp up the vinegar.

This sauce goes especially well with strongly flavored meats. If someone tells you they don't like duck or venison or even lamb, make this sauce and watch them dig in. The pictures here show the sauce with Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb, (a recipe you'll be seeing a bit later). Please enjoy...

Wild Huckleberry Sauce
from Jordan Hollow Inn, (via FoodNation with Bobby Flay), and a tweak by Crabby

2 cups frozen huckleberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 TBSP champagne or raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup port wine

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sauce reaches your desired consistency; for me that's about 7 - 10 minutes.

Tada!! Thank you, thank you very much. This cooking thing is soooooo tough, please let me bask in your awe. Really that's it. It can't be any easier.

OK crablings, after all this hard, hard cooking, I'm outta here; until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.


Maggie said...

Looks delicious! I've never tasted a huckleberry, I have to check out the online store.

WineWizardBob said...

"The Sauce is the Boss" is number one rule for matching wine to food. This fruit sauce even when poured over wild venison will be the dominating flavor. The fruitiness of California and Australian reds is a perfect match. Cline Zinfandel and the 2006 Ironstone Merlot would be great enhancers to this dish and you dont have to spend a lot of money for either one.

Anonymous said...

looks delicious - can't get the berries here in France ...any thoughts on a (ready-made sauce) shipping service...pleeeeease??!! said...

My internet research says the there is a European version of the huckleberry plant known as bilberry or whorlteberry. They grow above 2000 feet.

I have no idea if they are readily available or even edible. Failing that my only suggestion is to email the folks at and see if they hip to France.

Anonymous said...

How many cups of huckleberries said...

2 cups frozen or 3 if you somehow can get your thorn-ravaged, purple stained fingers on some fresh ones.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe, we live in the Pacific Northwest in the cascades and picked huckleberries and blackberries the other day, (I too am leary of bears since we have spotted a few-but love the outdoors!)cant wait to try this recipe :)