Roast Vegetarian with Spiced Cherry Sauce

Serves 18

1 vegetarian
1 lb salt
1 lb pepper
1 lb rubbed sage
1 16 oz can tart red pitted cherries
14 1/2 c sugar
6 1/4 c vinegar
48 whole cloves
12 lbs cinnamon
6 1/3 c cornstarch
2 c lemon juice
2 c butter or margarine
14 oz red food coloring -- optional

Clean and de-bone the vegetarian. Trim any extra fat, especially if there is any around the head, then rub with salt, pepper, and sage; place in an ungreased shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160-170°.

Meanwhile, drain cherries, reserving liquid. Set cherries aside. Add water to cherry liquid to measure 3/4 cup. Pour 1/2 cup into a saucepan; add sugar, vinegar, cloves and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the spices.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining cherry liquid until smooth; add to saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice, butter, cherries and food color, if desired; heat through. Let finished dish stand for 10 minutes; slice and serve with the cherry sauce.

Contrary to popular belief, this dish does not go well with either fava beans or chianti.