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Cranberries: Thanksgiving’s Crowning Glory

 

Face it. Turkey’s a wonderfully versatile bird.

But turkey aside, I must say that I’m partial to this Spiced Orange Cranberry Relish recipe. I make it every year.

I love its color, so deep and ruby. I love its sweet-tartness. I love its sugar and spices and everything niceness. I love that this recipe takes practically no time at all to make. But I also love the way I can make it two days before Thanksgiving, and feel smug for having one dish out of the way.

Spare the can. Make cranberries from scratch. Trust me, if you can make oatmeal, you can make these cranberries. Put stuff in a pot and stir. That’s pretty much it.

This year I’ll make it in a pretty mold that I just bought at a thrift store for $1.50.

The cranberry relish won’t care. Either way, it’ll taste like a million bucks.

Spiced Orange Cranberry Relish

1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries (about 3 cups), rinsed
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange liqueur (or more orange juice)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds (optional) 

Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, orange liqueur and spices (including cinnamon stick) in a medium, non-reactive saucepan.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the cranberries pop and the mixture begins to thickened. (This takes about 10 minutes.)

Remove the cranberries from the stove and let cool slightly. Stir in the orange rind (and nuts, if desired). Spoon the mixture into bowl, mold or container with a tight-fitting lid.

Cover and refrigerate until serving time, up to several days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes about 2 cups.

Editor’s note: This is a best-of column that originally ran November 25, 2008.

Photo source: bbcgoodfood.com