Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year. I've been getting organized for the big day: collecting recipes, shopping and slowly preparing dishes which can be made in advance. I'm making some things which look really interesting and which I know will be great, and others which I, well, hate but am making in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Firmly in the hate camp is cranberry sauce. I hate the gelatinous sugary mush that does a complete disservice to the interesting, very American berry.
I decided to be a good sport and make a couple varieties. The first one was made last night: a cranberry marmalade with diced orange (skin, pith and all). It turned out gelatinous and too sweet. If I were to make it again I'd halve the sugar. But someone's bound to like it so I'll stay the course. The next one I made tonight. It's a cranberry-orange relish that caught my eye because of the untraditional ingredients and preparation. Interestingly it's no-cook and includes jalapeno pepper which gives it an unexpected kick. The original recipe called for a finish of mint leaves and pecans but it is wonderfully interesting and uncomplicated without so I skipped that portion of the recipe. I also halved the sugar having learned my lesson. The result was fantastic – a true service to the cranberry and break from the dreaded jiggling jelly. I even think this one can get away with being served on another day of the year!
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, 1995, go figure!
Cranberry Orange Relish
Makes ~2.5 cups
2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 blood oranges or navel oranges, peeled, sectioned, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces, juices reserved 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup sugar
2 stalks celery, peeled to remove strings, cut in 1/4-inch dice
Place cranberries in food processor, and pulse to chop coarsely, about five pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Add onion, jalapeño, lime juice, orange sections and juice, ginger, sugar, and celery; mix gently. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.