Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another Thanksgiving tip

Ok all here is another creative twist to a traditional item: Cranberry relish

For those of you who are using that canned cranberry relish crap you should be aware that it is a form of culinary sin and there is something very easy and much tastier that you can serve. The following recipe is one I have been using for about 12 years and always receive raves on it.

Please note that these quantities are not exact, but an approximation as I don't use recipes.  I just throw a bunch of shit together hoping it comes out well-and it always does.

Here is what you need.

Frozen cranberries-1 cup
Sun dried cranberries -1 cup
Fresh rosemary-chopped- 1 teaspoon
Fresh orange-1 ea
Brown sugar-just to sweeten-approximately 1-2 tablespoons
Cornstarch-to thicken
Red onions-julienned -1/2 cup
Olive oil-for cooking
Salt and black pepper to taste

Red wine
Port wine

Note: for the wine, I use equal parts and you need just enough to cover the cranberries


-In a heavy-bottomed pot, add just enough oil to barely coat the bottom and cook your red onions over medium heat for about five minutes.  Make sure they do not brown.

-While the onions are cooking, run the orange over a cheese grater on the side with the smaller grate and set the orange zest aside.

-Add both types of cranberries, rosemary, orange zest, brown sugar, juice from the orange and both types of wine to the pot and put on high heat

-Put some cornstarch in a bowl and add some cold water and mix it with your hand until it is free from lumps and about the consistency of heavy cream.

-Once the mixture is boiling add about two teaspoons of the cornstarch mix to the pot and stir. 

-Reduce heat to low, season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes.

-Chill and serve.  I suggest serving this room temperature as opposed to cold.

A few points for you to consider.  

-Once finished, you should be able to taste the wine but it should not taste too "winey."  If it does, simply add a bit more sugar.
-The thickness should not be like that of a cranberry relish in a can, it should be more like a chutney only slightly looser. It should not be "soupy" though.

-I personally like using 100% sun dried cranberries and no frozen cranberries at all but it is up to you

Remember, this is not baking or pastry where you have to follow a recipe exactly so if you like a sweeter relish, add more sugar.  If you like more orange flavor, add more orange.  If you don't like wine, use cranberry juice instead.

Lastly, when it comes to seasoning remember to add a little seasoning at a time, constantly tasting to see how the flavor develops.  This is how you develop your palate.
You can always add more seasoning but you can't take it out once it is in there.

Happy cooking and I will post some more Thanksgiving ideas and tips for you

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