Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cranberries Two Ways

Thanksgiving at our house actually includes cranberries three ways - a relish, a conserve and a jelly. The jelly is for Marc and until last year was the kind from a can, served with the ridges still showing - kind of like a guide for cutting slices. Last year we tried to make our own, and the results were a bit mixed, actually kind of "melty". Maybe we didn't use enough gelatin, or maybe the conserve we started with had too much "stuff" to properly mold. In any event, not yet a recipe to share. But the other two, they are tried and true and our family's Thanksgiving table wouldn't be complete without both.

Given their history, I have no good excuse for having only this one, very bad photo, to show.
from 2008 - the relish is on the left, the conserve on the right
First up, the relish - I think I first made this in 1985, the year we moved into our house and the first year we hosted Thanksgiving. The original recipe was from Southern Living. But I quickly made it my own.

Good thing I know this one by heart - the card is pretty much illegible now!

My Cranberry Relish
1 navel orange, quartered
12 ounces cranberries
1 apple, quartered and seeded (granny smith or golden delicious)
1/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 lemon, cut in half
1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

This one really needs a food processor with the chopping blade. First, add the orange quarters and very coarsely chop. Then add the other ingredients and chop until there aren't any too-big bits. Don't overprocess or it won't be pretty. Chill, covered.

I make this on Wednesday so the flavors have time to marry. It keeps really well.

And now the conserve. This one is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa's Cranberry Fruit Conserve (from her Parties! cookbook, which I received as a gift from Francie in we've been making this for seven years). The adapting is in the cooking instructions - Ina says it takes 5 minutes for the skins to pop, cooking over low heat - in our experience, it's much longer!

Cranberry Conserve
12 ounces cranberries
scant 1-1/2 cups sugar (I'm sure you could use just 1-1/4 cups)
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3/4 cup raisins (we've used golden and black, both work fine)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Cook the cranberries, sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until it foams and the cranberries' skins pop open. Add the apple, zests and juices and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, serve chilled. [note that when I found the link for Ina's recipe, I saw her photo - it sure looks like she added fresh orange zest before serving - I think we'll try holding out a bit of both zests to add just before serving]

We make this on Wednesday, too. And it keeps really well. Suggest using some of the leftovers in a Warmed Cranberry Brie (in place of the canned whole-berry sauce).


  1. if you master the jelly version, please let me know. we're going for a cranberry chutney this year-andrew is feeling a bit adventurous

  2. Definitely can use less sugar. It's all approximate for the conserve - you don't want it to be too sweet.

    Yummm Thanksgiving can't come fast enough! (And I think we need to add more gelatin to the mold.)