A tasty vibrant solution to the Thanksgiving cranberry conundrum

Tradition has it that a Thanksgiving turkey dinner is not complete without cranberry sauce. Tradition also has it that every November, I find myself scratching my head, trying to reimagine cranberry sauce.

I have nothing against cranberries, mind you — nor a sauce, for that matter. I couldn’t imagine the holiday table without a heaping bowl of glistening ruby berries simmered into a tart compote. Yet each year, I make a cranberry sauce and present it at the table. And each year, I wrap up the sauce after our meal, nearly untouched, and store it in the refrigerator for goodness-knows-what future purpose. I am not sure if this is a problem unique to my family, or if it’s a hushed issue shared by others, too embarrassed to voice their cranberry dysfunction in public. Let me know if you have any insight.

Nevertheless, each year I persevere and make a cranberry sauce, but now I make it with a twist. A straightforward cranberry sauce consists of cranberries and sugar, which (to me) is one-dimensional. Why not step out of the comfort zone and make a jazzy sauce that can be creatively repurposed? I jack up my sauce, transforming it into what could also be called a chutney — in other words, a condiment that has legs: a tasty, vibrant sauce that will carry you through the entertaining season.

Chutneys are a raucous sludge of fresh and dried fruit simmered in a sweet, sharp bath of citrus, maybe vinegar, perhaps a splash of spirits, and infused with sweet whole spices, savory aromatics and a kick of heat. A sweet and puckery chutney will provide a little extra bling to your Thanksgiving while seamlessly multitasking beyond the turkey dinner, because, yes, there may be leftovers. Spread it on a sandwich, serve it on a cheese and charcuterie board, dab it on cocktail crostini, or spoon a dollop alongside a beef roast or pork loin.

Who knows? You might be very pleased this year when you have a lot of cranberry sauce left over after Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Bourbon Chutney

Makes about 2 cups


12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

3 coins cut from a finger of fresh ginger

1 (3-inch) sprig fresh rosemary

1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick

Zest of one orange

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperRelated Articles

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Source:: The Mercury News


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