Note: You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing fruits and vegetables.
Cranberry sauce will never be my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. As a Jersey girl, though, I have a certain innate respect for cranberries. As with Bon Jovi, pharmaceuticals, and big hair, a Jersey girl's appreciation for cranberries is not so much about tradition as it is about a vague, ever-present fear of extradition should it come to light that you had ever spoken ill of them in your travels.
Because I regard cranberries with at least as much respect as love, the ruby-colored condiment at our Thanksgiving table this year will be a fairly regal version. For starters, it's a chutney rather than a mere sauce. It's studded with raisins and perfumed with ginger, cinnamon and cloves. It comes from the Williams-Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook, which is classy as hell, though don't take it from a Jersey girl. Because of its relatively high concentration of oranges and sugar, it shows off cranberries' good side while protecting you from knocking yourself over the head with them (just like big hair would do, but I bet you already saw where I was going with that). And best of all, it will keep for at least a week in the fridge. So make it today, put it aside and spend the next three days getting geared up for stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy.
Happy Thanksgiving, Serious Eaters. Hope it's a great one.
Williams-Sonoma's Spiced Cranberry Chutney
Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 whole oranges, peel included, diced, seeded, and finely chopped in a blender*
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup raisins
- *Thin-skinned Florida oranges work best here.
In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the oranges and ginger and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Add the cranberries, cinnamon and cloves and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until thickened. Add the raisins and cook for about 7 minutes more, until big bubbles appear in the sauce. Cool in a bowl before serving, or refrigerate for up to a week.