This article was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, July 13, 2006.

Savory blueberry sauce

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

1/2 cup (120g) fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon (15g) juniper berries
1 teaspoon (5g) black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Asian "five spice"
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Dash hot sauce


1. Clean the blueberries; separate and reserve about a dozen small ones for use at the end of the recipe.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries, black peppercorns, sea salt and five-spice into a coarse paste.

3. Put the blueberries (except for the reserved ones) in a saucepan with the juniper-berry paste and the lemon juice. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes (or, if you prefer, microwave for a minute or two), until the berries burst. Blend into a smooth puree, adding a little water if necessary to achieve a fairly thick sauce. Stir in the reserved whole berries and optional hot sauce to taste; you're looking for a well-balanced hot-sweet flavor, not a five-alarm potion.

4. Use as a savory meat sauce for duck, pork or turkey.

MATCHING WINE: Thanks to its combination of juicy, pear-like fruit and crisp acidity, the Loosen Bros. 2005 Riesling "Dr. L" featured in Monday's 30 Second Wine Advisor made an unexpectedly fine match with this sauce on duck-breast medallions. I'd also be interested to try a pairing with a fruit-forward, blueberry-scented red such as a New World Syrah or a Sicilian Nero d'Avola.