Every year at Thanksgiving whether we are cooking for a home celebration or for a communal celebratory pot-luck, our favorite and most-requested recipe cards come out of their safe places tocreate specialties that grace our tables, dazzle our eyes and tickle our taste-buds. But really, why only at the holiday? There are some foods that are so delicious, so healthful and nutritious that we might consider NOT filing the recipes away in that for-holidays-only envelope. Some are more than worthy to keep front and center and to have ready as a condiment, snack or “wellness-while-eating” food throughout the year.
This recipe for my Crunchy Cranberry Relish is requested each holiday and it is simply splendid! This year I have purchased and frozen a number of bags of fresh cranberries to be able to make this on a regular basis as a treat, a side, a pie filling AND for the wonderful healthful benefits that cranberries offer us, along with the orange, orange peel, cinnamon and nuts, even though it does require a fair amount of sugar to sweeten the tartness of the cranberry, which is significant. In my recipe, I do not give andexact amount for the sugar, for I add it cautiously, tasting along the way until I get the proper balance of sweet and tart that pleases me, which is WAY less than standard recipes for cranberry relish ie TWO cups of sugar per 1 12-oz bag of cranberries! NO WAY! Taste, taste, taste as you prepare to counteract the tartness of the fruit but you don’t need to overdo the sweetness.
I also do not cook this relish, but use the berries raw (after a good rinse, picking over and spin-drying) and chopped fine in my little cuisinart chopper/grinder which works beautifully. Raw cranberries are exceeding healthy and full of nutrients (articles below), and the nuts, if they are not forbidden to you, raisins and cinnamon as well are nutrient rich as well.
Make this as a crunchy relish to eat alongside other foods, either with meat or vegetarian. I will include a recipe in another post about using it as a pie filling, or keep a bowl of it in the fridge, snacking on a tablespoon or two of it when you get a craving to eat something sweet or crunchy that are full of empty nutrients and calories. I do believe your will LOVE this!!
Ingredients: 1-12oz bag cranberries, rinsed, picked over and dried, 1 large seedless navel orange, cut into 1 large wedge with rind and the rest without rind in small chunks to fit in the chopper, golden raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts, cinnamon, 1 cup (more or less to taste) of sugar to taste (I use an organic sugar that has a light tan color) and for a special sparkle, a dash of cointreau or triple sec, if desired. I ask forgiveness for the lack of definitive measurements, as I prepare and cook as I go along..rather like an art project..creating as I taste. So far in my long cooking career, what tastes good to me, taste good to others.. The best I can do, is to encourage you to experiment..add things with a VERY light hand and taste along the way always until you are pleased with the result. You can always add, but you CANNOT subtract…just remember that! Creative and cautious all along the way!
Preparation: Chop washed and dried cranberries somewhat fine in the chopper. Set aside. Chop one large wedge of the navel orange finely, add to the cranberries, and chop the rest of the orange wedges fine and a little soupy in the chopper There shouldn’t be mushy orange chunks) and add to the cranberries. Stir..slowly sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar into the mixture…stir and taste…add slowly…stir and taste , add more sugar until it is a right balance of sweet and tart that pleases you…add a handful of raisins, sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices (start with 1 teasp), stir, taste adjust..add a small pouch chopped nuts (I prefer pecans) stir gently, taste…adjust. Add a dash of cointreau or triple sec..careful, they are VERY sweet.
I prepare this a day in advance of eating to let the flavors blend and mellow. I cover it and keep it in the fridge. Before serving, stir, taste and adjust ingredients again if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature. ENJOY! SAVOR! AND BE HEALTHY! (links for cranberries and nutrition below the picture)