Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fresh cranberry relish

I wish I could have posted this recipe before Thanksgiving day. But I didn't make this until the big day itself. However, I still wanted to make sure to share the recipe with you while cranberries are still in season because this fresh cranberry relish is one of the most interesting things I've made in quite a while.

The best cranberry relish ever? Quite possibly.

When I first read this recipe on Sassy Radish I was instantly intrigued. Fresh cranberries were used to make this relish. No heat, no cooking down the berries until thick and sweet. Just the cranberries themselves, with a few special ingredients, were used to make this dish. Now I love me a homemade cranberry sauce, and I've even blogged about it before. But fresh cranberries?! Not cooked?? This was news to me.

It was then, and only then, that I realized I'd never had a fresh cranberry before. And I'm guessing 99.7% of you out there would say the same. They're so tart, recipes typically have you use them in cakes or muffins or cooked down to a cranberry sauce. But fresh cranberries, what the hell would they taste like?

Love these guys. Makes me sad how short cranberry season is.

One Two words: freaking awesome!

This relish was fresh and crunchy and bright and sweet and tart and flavorful and absolutely deeeelicious. By itself it tasted great, but with turkey- even better! I was a bit worried about the texture (seeing that I'd never had raw cranberries before...), but it was a lot like eating little bits of apple. Super crunchy. Taste-wise though, unlike anything else!

But there weren't just cranberries in this relish that made it so good. There were also pomegranate seeds...

Jewels of fruit

... and sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.

So much flavor for such simplicity

A mere few ingredients pulsed together in your food processor for the ultimate accompaniment to turkey.

One bite and you may never go back to the cooked stuff again

And if you're not sure you'll like, just give it a whirl and see! You might prefer the cooked version to the raw, but you'll never know unless you try. And if for some freak reason you don't like the raw stuff, just throw it in a pot and cook it down until it's nice and sauce-like. See, now there really is no excuse not to try this.

Personally, as much as I love me a cooked cranberry sauce, I think I liked this fresh version better. I found that it was less sweet and the crunchy texture contrasted nicely with the turkey.

Either way- fresh or cooked- you can't go wrong with cranberries.

Yours in being beyond pleasantly surprised!
Jacqueline

Fresh Cranberry Relish, adapted oh so slightly from Sassy Radish

Note: The original recipe called for 3/4 cup sugar, but I'd suggest starting with 1/2 cup first. Give it a taste and if you want more sweetness add the extra 1/4 cup. I found that 1/2 cup was sufficient for my taste buds.

Ingredients
One (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon Cointreau, optional
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, optional (I did not add this)
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse a few times until the fruit becomes ground but still somewhat chunky. Taste and adjust sugar/acid/salt/pepper according to your preferences. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for at least 1 day to let the flavors meld together.

The relish will keep, refrigerated, for about 1 week.

2 comments:

Carolyn Jung said...

You should stash a bag or two of fresh cranberries in your freezer. That way, you can still enjoy them in the spring. They are soooo great for baking with. ;)

Jacqueline said...

Yes! That's a great tip, thanks for the reminder. I already threw in 1 bag, but I really should stock up on more. :)

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