1 cup white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 ounces Canadian-style bacon, diced (1/3 cup)
3/4 cup plus 2 port
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 14-ounce c reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup dried sour cherries
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, mushrooms and bacon; cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup port and vinegar and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth, tomato paste, garlic, thyme and crushed peppercorns and return to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan, pressing hard on solids to extract juices. Bring to a simmer.
Mix cornstarch with remaining 2 tablespoons port in a small bowl. Add to the sauce and whisk until thickened slightly.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover cherries with boiling water. Let plump for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and stir into sauce.