Aah, the winter beiges! Trips to the local farm market this time of year tend to be rather uninspiring – fresh heaps of gorgeous colorful produce replaced by mountains of (mostly) beige root vegetables. Now – I absolutely love a good rutabaga or celery root. I enthusiastically jump in with both feet at the start of the root vegetable season but by February, with snow starting to pile up outside, everything just starts to feel – well, beige.
But – oooh la la – my trip to the farm market yesterday was about to take a turn for the better. There, sitting in some brightly colored baskets, was a huge pile of gorgeous red hued blood oranges. It was as if a light from above was shining directly on that basket; those little red-orange orbs glowing brightly; their skin hiding that gorgeous burnt orange flesh and juice contained within. Flashbacks to winter in Sicily; and like watching the lava flow down Mount Etna amidst snow covered slopes; these little beauties were about to add some warmth to my beige winter palate. I quickly scooped up a few dozen beauties – let the blood orange bonanza begin!
Last evening, while I contemplated what to do with my bounty of beauties, I decided to make a simple blood orange sangria to recharge my palate. This recipe is so very easy to modify in so many ways! Make it yours. I tend to not like my sangria sweet so I opted to not add sugar but you could easily add a ½ cup or more of simple syrup. (Just stir together equal parts sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar is melted. Let cool and add to the pitcher.) You could absolutely add additional winter fruits. (I was so excited by my blood oranges that I neglected to buy any other fruit.) Add in other citrus – cara oranges, tangerines, lemons or berries, apples or grapes. Just toss in the pitcher. If you do not like brandy, omit or perhaps swap out for Campari or Aperol.
Let your winter spirit soar amidst your beautiful bounty of crimson happiness! And I promise to share my other creations from my little treasures – Sauteed Scallops with Blood Oranges and Pistachios, Blood Orange, Fennel and Red Onion Salad, Blood Orange Roasted Chicken Thighs…..so excited!! Stay tuned!
Sicilian Blood Orange Sangria
- 6 blood oranges (plus 2 extra for slicing for serving)
- Sugar for rimming the glass
- 1 bottle of dry white wine
- ½ cup brandy
- Juice from 2 limes
- Additional fruit if desired (you can use a mixture of citrus, strawberries, blackberries – whatever suits your taste)
Zest one of the blood oranges and combine it well with some sugar in a small bowl. Reserve for rimming the glasses.
Juice 6 of the blood oranges (including the one that was zested) discarding any seeds. Slice the remaining 2 blood oranges into wheels. Reserve a few for garnishes for the glasses.
In a large pitcher, combine the blood orange juice, white wine, brandy, lime juice and blood orange slices. Add in any other fruits if using. Stir well. Put in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours.
Run a slice of lime or lemon around the rim of each glass. Dunk each glass in the sugar/orange zest, coating the rim well. Fill each glass with a few ice cubes, add in some fruit from the sangria. Pour in the sangria and serve!