Sorrel flowers are a must-have for Trinis at Christmas time. However, the tangy, sweet and aromatic drink is not all that the sorrel flowers are good for. The flavour of sorrel lends itself uniquely to both savoury and sweet dishes. It’s acidic, floral and most importantly, accommodating to a variety of flavours. So, when you can’t resist the bags of sorrel on the side of the highway, you’ll now have more than one reason to buy them.
These recipe ideas can also be made with dried sorrel or hibiscus flowers which can be found year round in most grocery stores.
Reduced sorrel drink makes an excellent glaze for both savoury and sweet dishes. The aromatics infused into sorrel like ginger, cinnamon and clove complement many desserts. A sorrel glaze over cheesecake, coconut or vanilla ice-cream or really any creamy dessert would add a tart punch to cut through the decadence while also infusing spices into the dessert. For savoury preparations, a slightly less sweet sorrel glaze (just use or make a sorrel drink with less sugar) would complement red meats like duck, lamb or beef because of their assertive flavour. You can add other aromatics like thyme and mint to further enhance the dish.
Sorrel ice-cream is refreshing, easy and a great surprise at a Christmas party. For ice-cream, add sorrel reduction to your ice-cream base (You can even add coconut milk to your base for a sorrel-coconut ice-cream!). A key point in this is to reduce the amount of sugar in your ice-cream base to ensure that the ice-cream isn’t overly sweet.
Due to sorrel’s acidic and tangy flavour profile, it is perfect for marinades. The acid in sorrel tenderises meats while its floral and citrusy undertones cut through the fat of rich, gamey meat like duck, lamb, beef or even chicken thighs. For this purpose, it is best to marinade meat in sorrel that has not been sweetened yet. Steep your sorrel in black peppercorns, garlic, thyme and shallots for a more savoury flavour. You can add a bit of honey or grape jam for a touch of sweetness and extra carmelisation when roasting, baking or grilling your meat.
One cup of sorrel with olive oil, a touch of honey, lime, salt and black pepper is all you need for a delicious, Christmassy vinaigrette. This assertive vinaigrette would go well with strongly flavoured ingredients like roasted sweet potato, cranberries, walnuts and arugula. It’s the perfect vinaigrette for a Christmas lunch or office party.
Sorrel pulp that is leftover from steeping for sorrel drink is the perfect way to utilise the entire sorrel flower. Boil the pulp with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and ginger until it reduces to a thick jelly like substance. Remove the aromatics using either the back of a wooden spoon or a hand-held blender, mash or blend until the consistency is chunky. Jar for later.
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