Thursday, November 27, 2008

Taste of Thanksgiving

We have a pretty normal Thanksgiving feast. This year, for the first time in about 8 years, it's just the Viking and me for dinner. I seem to not be able to cook in very small quantities, so we'll be having reruns for a while. It's all good.

I know there are people who don't care for cranberry sauce. Not me, I love the sweet tart cranberry taste. I prefer Cranberry Orange Relish, made with raw cranberries, over the cooked varities. I got my bag of berries out of the fridge this morning to make my relish to discover that Ocean Spray no longer puts that recipe on the bag. Thank goodness for the Internet. I've decided to share it here, so I'll never loose the recipe again!

So how about you - cooked or raw? C'mon, cook ( or actually don't cook ) along with me, it's super easy. You can do it.

Cranberry Orange Relish

You need 1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries. Pick through them, removing any that are mushy, wrinked or just creepy looking. Rinse them off. You'll also need an orange, sugar and cardamom, which we'll get to a little later.

Cut the orange, rind and all, into 8 segments. You don't have to be fanatical about it, but try to get them pretty evenly sized. And yes, I really mean the rind... I promise it will not kill you. Really. Place 4 orange segments and about half of the raw cranberries into a food processor. If you don't have a super spiffy food processor, you can do with with an old fashioned food grater, but if I were you and I wanted to make this, I'd go splurge on a food processor....even the tiny little ones will do this job. You'll just have to work in smaller batches. Alternatively, you might as well sit down with the old food box grater and watch the parade while you shred your fingertips.

Ready to move on? I thought so. Pluse the blade several time until you have a medium textured gind going on. Actually, grind it as fine as you like it. I just prefer this size. And yes, you will have bits of visible orange peel that you can actually eat. Be brave. It's wonderfully fresh.

When the first half is processed, repeat with the remaining orange sections and cranberries. Move all the goodies into a bowl. As you can see, I am quite partial to this gigantic measuring cup.

Now we've got to add some sweetness to all this tarty goodness. The standard recipe calls for 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar. I really only use 2/3 cup sugar, but I like it tart. I was toying around with the idea of a little maple syrup at this point, but decided against it. Lemme know if you try it.

It's at this point that I go a little crazy and deviate from the traditional method of cranberry relish prep. Not only do I like it slightly more tart than sweet, I love a hint of spice. It really heightens the cranberry orange taste for me. So, if you're a wild woman too, now's the time to add from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of spice. I prefer cardamom but I think cinnamon or corriander would be nice too.

Now, just mix together, cover and refrigerate for several hours. If you plan better than I do and get this made the night before, not only do you get a gold star and the turkey leg, you'll get a mush more magical flavored cranberry orange relish. I didn't plan well this year, so we get the immature vintage. I still love it.

This recipe makes about 3 cups. It survives quite nicely for several meals. It's also an outstanding accompaniment for pork and chicken dishes. Plus, it's great mixed with cream cheese and spred on toast, or mixed into pound cake batter, pancakes... you get the picture.
Yummm... don't tell anyone but I like this better than the turkey!
P.S. I've heard rumors that some people like nuts in this relish. If that sound good to you, go for it. I think pecans might be best, but it's your relish; do what you like. Happy Thanksgiving.
Cranberry Orange Relish
1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1 orange
2/3 - 1 cup sugar
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, cinnamon or corridaner.
Rinse and remove any spoiled cranberries. Cut the orange into 8 segments with the rind attached. Place half the cranberries and 4 orange wedges into a food processor. Pluse 4 or 5 times. Remove and process the remaining cranberries and oranges.
Place ground cranberries and oranges into a bowl. Mix with sugar and add the spice if you like that idea. Mix well, cover and refrigerate 6-12 hours. Best flavor develops when made the night before. Makes about 3 cups.


Susan who? said...

My gramma always made this and its always been one of my absolute faves. She made it with toasted pecans for a little extra crunch.

I made this myself once and almost ate the whole bowl. Yes, there were some repercussions, but that's another story for another time...

Kira said...

I am so upset! The one and only recipe I got you hooked on, and no mention!

Actually, we'll have to make it with cardamom at Christmas now. That sounds good.