Like many of you, I’m sure, I spent most of yesterday (Thanksgiving) in the kitchen, happily cooking my way through a number of favorite recipes. One of them is a fragrant chutney I discovered a few years ago, made with cranberries and an excellent replacement for the ubiquitous cranberry sauce that lingers, uneaten, on too many Thanksgiving tables.
Cranberries are considered one of the quintessential Thanksgiving foods, probably because cranberries are native to North America and were known to have been eaten by the Native Americans, and by English settlers in North America as early as the first half of the seventeenth century, according to Martha Stewart. They are highly nutritious, a true superfood with a lot of nutrient bang for the caloric buck as they are low in sugar. However, traditional cranberry sauce recipes tend to add a lot of sugar to this otherwise healthy fruit. As a lover of Indian food, I was happy to find several different recipes for cranberry-based savory chutney; the version I make includes much less sugar, and one of my favorite spices/fragrances, cardamom.
Cranberry Chutney recipe (adapted from Food and Style):
For the figs
- 4 oz (115 g) dried Mission figs (8 medium) – cut in half
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (fresh, if available)
For the chutney
- 1 1/4 cups unfiltered apple cider
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/3- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (use a microplane grater)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 oz (340 g) fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup minced sweet onions
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (fresh is best, dry is fine).
- 1 large apple, cored, peeled and diced.
- Place the figs, orange liqueur and orange juice in a shallow bowl. Stir well and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Heat a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat (I use a non-stick, non-reactive GreenPan). Add all ingredients EXCEPT the cranberries. Bring to a boil. Once the brown sugar has dissolved, reduce heat to medium and add the cranberries, but reserve 1/2 cup. Stir well and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes until the cranberries have popped and the juices thickened. Turn heat down to low/simmer and add the fig mixture. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, adding apple cider if chutney becomes too thick. Turn off the heat, add the reserved fresh cranberries, and stir. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature and serve.
- Cook’s note: Refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
This makes a festive, colorful condiment for Christmas dinners and parties too! Happy holidays!