Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cranberry - Orange - Ginger Relish

French people don't celebrate Thanksgiving and very few actually know that Americans get together with their family on that special Thursday in November to eat a Thanksgiving feast made of Turkey, squash and cranberries. This is not to say that French people don't eat turkey. I grew up eating roasted turkey (in a wood-oven mind you!) for Christmas lunch or New Year's lunch at my grand-mother's house when we would all get together with my relatives (about 20 of us). She would wake up really early to start her wooden stove and have the turkey ready by lunch time around 1pm. She would stuff the very local (I remember picking it up at the farm!!) bird with with shallots, oinions and chestnuts (no bread!)... and to this day, this is the best stuffing I have ever eaten (just maybe so because I love chestnuts in savory recipes...)
Although there were about 20 of us, the turkeys were much much smaller than the ones I have seen in local supermarkets around Philadelphia. No way she could have cooked such a big bird in her wood oven and have it ready by 1pm! When my parents come to visit and see the size of turkeys we all wonder how my grand-mother could have cooked such birds in her oven...

Turkey was served with additional chestnuts, cooked apples and maybe green beans... but definitively no cranberry sauce. French people don't know cranberries. Well, let me be more precise, the only French people I know who know what cranberries are (canneberges in French) are the ones who use it to prevent/fight UTI or the ones who traveled to the US/UK and got exposed to fresh/canned cranberries.....
I personally like cranberries but hardly ever cook them except in a pound cake/muffins where I mix them with apples and other Fall spices.  The other recipe I discovered last year through a friend of mine and have been enjoying (alone - no one else except my mom would eat it at home)... is this orange-cranberry relish.  I like it because I cut the sugar amount in half and let it "cook" overnight in its juice. I eat it as dessert or with some roasted winter squash and .... chestnuts.  I have seen this (or very similar) recipe in cooking magazines this year so maybe some of you just had it with your turkey a few days ago! If not, make it with leftovers/discounted fresh cranberries you can find around you these days. It's really worth it... and a most welcome change from the canned cranberry sauce I have tasted in the past! Bon Appetit!

Makes 8-10 servings

  • 1 orange, unpeeled and preferably organic, scrubbed
  • 2 bags ( 12 oz each) fresh cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar  (300 gr) ( I use anywhere between 1/3 to 2/3 of that depending on how sweet I want it)
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz) peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • Cut the orange ( with the peel on) into 16 chunks and discard any seeds.  Working in batches, combine the orange chunks, cranberries, sugar and ginger in a food processor.  Pulse to chop finely and evenly, stopping once or twice with each batch to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Transfer to a storage container, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to develop the flavors. 
  • Bring to room temperature and stir well before serving.
  • Can prepare up to 3 days in advance.