Cranberries!

Cranberries are wonderful, ya know? Just like turkey, I gotta ask why we only eat these once a year. When the season comes, (and it’s here right NOW, gang), grab a half dozen more bags than the one you need and freeze them.

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OK, now that you have some, what are y’all gonna make? If it’s just cranberry sauce you crave, bypass that lame recipe on the back of the bag and try my version; folks at our house go nuts for this, and so will yours.

Now, how about a couple things a bit more outside the ‘same old’ box? Here’s a couple of great recipes that explore the savory side of cranberries.

 

Chutney is a spicy condiment that hails from a bunch of southeast Asian and Indian cuisines. Typical chutney blends the flavors of fruits and vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar. It’s a wonderful spin from the ordinary, so give it a try.

Cranberry Chutney

1 bag Cranberries
1 small sweet Onion
1 Apple
1 clove Garlic
1/2 Cup Red Wine
1/4 Cup Agave Nectar or Honey
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Oil
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Tellicherry Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

In a stainless steel saucepan over medium flame, heat the oil.

Dice the onion. Peel, core and dice the apple. Peel and mince the garlic.

Toss the onion, apple, and garlic into the oil and sauté until the onion starts to go translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine, balsamic vinegar, agave, salt and pepper; incorporate thoroughly and heat through.

Raise heat to medium high and add the cranberries to the mix, stir to incorporate.

Allow to blend to cook on a low boil, stirring more or less constantly. Continue cooking until most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce is nice and thick, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl. Allow to cool thoroughly in the fridge. Chutney will keep in an air tight glass container for a week or so in the fridge, and for a month or two frozen.

 

Now here’s a favorite secret weapon that I’ll call Cranberry BBQ Sauce; trust me when I tell you that this absolutely rocks on game, beef, chicken, turkey, and pork, too. It’s also amazing on potatoes, or in stews or stroganoff.

Eben’s Cranberry BBQ Sauce

1 bag Cranberries
1 Cup sweet Onion
1 bottle Porter
1 large Navel Orange
1/2 Cup dry Red Wine
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
2 cloves Garlic

Peel and dice onion, peel and mince garlic. Zest and juice the orange.

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Use a nice, fresh local Porter, like this beauty from Deschutes Brewing.

Throw everybody into a large stainless steel sauce pan over medium high heat and blend well, dissolving sugar thoroughly.

As soon as the cranberries start to pop, reduce heat to achieve a nice, steady simmer. Allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Process sauce with an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a blender, if that’s what you’ve got. Be very careful if you use a blender; process in batches and watch out for the hot sauce. Process until the sauce is uniform and smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, AKA. A motor boat, go buy yourself one for Christmas, they’re indispensable.

If you like your sauce a bit chunkier, as we do, you’re done; if you like it smoother, run the sauce through a steel sieve once.

Transfer to a glass bowl or jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to use, to allow the flavors to marry and the sauce to finish thickening.

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Sauce will do fine in the fridge for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long…