Now don't get me wrong, I think the red cylinder is okay, and has it's place in the kitchen (stir some into your oatmeal with some cinnamon, über délicieux!), but just not at the Thanksgiving table. Try telling that to my family or our friends. Thus it was that a few years ago I decided to try and show them the light and bring to Thanksgiving dinner real, honest to god, homemade, from scratch, cranberry sauce!
AND...it was a flop. No one touched it, except for a pity nibble from Rita. To ad insult to insult, I was actually ridiculed for making it myself. Joking comments along the lines of, "Traditional cranberry sauce not good enough for ya?" and so forth. I tried again the next year, but yielded similar results. I have therefor decided that though this year I will again make my own sauce for Thanksgiving, I'll just keep it at home, private reserve, if you will.
Most recipes I've tried over the years involve cranberries, water, a lot of sugar and varying spices. All have been either simmered or baked and yield a candy-like sauce that though might good, is also very sweet and often heavy on the palate. I was therefor pleasantly surprised when I found and made this recipe for a cranberry-pear relish on FoodNetwork.com.
The relish is completely raw and is simply thrown together in a food processor, so it's fast and easy. I also find that the rawness makes the relish lighter in the mouth than its cooked counterparts. It strikes me as a grown-up variation on the Thanksgiving classic, being nicely balanced with the sweetness of the pear (well, I actually used an apple because that's what I had on hand), the acidity from the orange juice, tartness from the cranberries, and bitterness from the orange peel and pith (yes, you literally throw in an entire orange). It also uses only a half cup of sugar, versus to the one or more cups in previous recipes I tried. I actually used less than that and sill found it plenty sweet to ward off the tartness, especially after a day in the fridge.
Cranberry-Pear (or Apple) Relish
via Food Network, all credit to them for a wonderful recipe
1 small navel orange
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 Bartlett pear or an apple, cored and cut into large chunks
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
Pinch kosher salt
3 tablespoons pecans or other nut, toasted and coarsely chopped
Wash and dry the orange. Cut the orange into small wedges, including the peel, and put in a food processor. Add the cranberries, pear, sugar, and salt. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Just before serving, stir in the pecans.
On a related note, I'd like to introduce the newest member of Cogito Team...my new Canon SX10 IS!
With his help, I hope to bring you ever tastier blog posts through ever more delicious photography.