With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to share with you a recipe which rocked my sister-in-law’s world. Let me explain. Several years ago we had a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house and Sharon (AKA SIL) was new to the family. This is one of the recipes that I took to dinner. If you are accustomed to the typical Oceanspray canned cranberry sauce, or worse that jelly looking version (sorry Oceanspray) you are in for a new and exciting culinary experience.
The taste and texture of fresh cranberries, even after cooking is totally different from the canned stuff. SIL didn’t know that you could buy and cook fresh cranberries — I know she is not alone. Heck, I was raised on the canned stuff and happened upon the bagged fresh cranberries in the produce department when I moved to the city. If you’d like to experience the taste and texture of fresh cranberries, this is a good starter recipe. The mix of spices gives the chutney a nice kick, and it is so good I highly recommend making extra so that you have plenty to eat. It also makes a great foodie gift.
Per the recipe, it makes about a quart which is 32 servings — roughly one ounce per serving. You can put this into Mason jars and refrigerate it where it will keep for up to a year. It is so great on sandwiches! By the way, if you make a batch now as I did, you can enjoy some now for Thanksgiving and have it again next month for Christmas. My one caution is that this recipe is a tad on the pricey side as you add up the cost of ingredients like crystallized ginger, nuts, currants, dates and the various spices.
Melinda Lee is a local cooking show radio host, and I copied this recipe from her website. She has a variety of recipes for fresh cranberries so if chutney just isn’t your thing I’m sure there is something else you can try.
This is a great recipe to give your food processor a workout with. If you haven’t cooked fresh cranberries before, be aware that they do make a popping noise as they cook. FYI, I always make this with blanched, slivered almonds which I think are ideal. I’m not sure I’d really like one of the substitutions.
MELINDA LEE’S CRANBERRY CHUTNEY RECIPE
Here’s an interesting alternative to the traditional cranberry sauce. This chutney must be made a day or more in advance, to allow the flavors to “bloom” – but the good news is that it can be made up to a year ahead, and will keep in the refrigerator or freezer for use as a condiment with other meats or poultry for all that time.
MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART (32 SERVINGS) Note: I made 1.5 times the recipe amount in the pot above and was able to fill four 17 ounce canning jars.
4 cups (one pound), cranberries – picked over, washed and dried
2 cups, water
1 cup, sugar
½ cup, cider vinegar
1 medium-size, onion – chopped fine
1 large clove, garlic – minced
1 tablespoon, cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon, allspice
1 teaspoon, salt
1/8 teaspoon, cayenne pepper
1 cup, chopped, pitted dates
1 cup, dried currants
2/3 cup, dark brown sugar (packed measure)
1/2 cup, crystallized ginger – minced [this is one, 4-ounce package, if purchased in a package]
1 cup, slivered, blanched almonds (or chopped pecans, or other nuts)
In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cider vinegar, onion, garlic and seasonings listed (through cayenne pepper) not including the cranberries, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries, dates, currants, brown sugar and ginger, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes longer. Stir in the nuts.
Let me know if this recipe is a hit with your holiday dinner guests!
Cool mixture, transfer to a bowl or other container, cover and refrigerate for at least one day to blend flavors. Best served at room temperature.