With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas just around the corner, I thought I’d give you a recipe for a Whole Berry Cranberry and Apple Relish that is simple to prepare and simply delicious. The fresh flavours of cranberry and apples slightly sweetened with apple cider and a bit of brown sugar are combined with orange zest, the crunch of toasted pecans and celery and a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.
This cranberry apple relish is a far cry from the cranberry salad that adorned our table when I was growing up. The tradition at our house was an enormous bowl of jello salad that had cranberries, nuts, canned citrus fruits, apples and grapes. It was a tangy treat for the jello-loving kids in our tribe.
After I left home, I made that recipe for years. While I generally stick with the dishes that are traditional to our feasting, I have no problem at all with trying a new version of the same type of food. It’s only in the last ten years or so that I have started playing around with other versions of cranberry salad and relish. This one is particularly good and very simple to prepare.
Rather than grinding the cranberries, like our old family recipe did, the cranberries in this relish are whole berries that are heated in a saucepan with apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar just until the berries start to “pop.” As you’re cooking them, you really do hear the cranberry skins make a popping noise…so it’s easy to tell when they are ready.
That mixture is slightly thickened with some corn starch and cooked for a couple more minutes; then, it’s all combined with apples, pecans, a bit of celery for extra crunch (I just love the crunch factor), and the zest of one fresh orange.
The Whole Berry Cranberry and Apple Relish keeps really well in the refrigerator, so you can prepare this side dish days in advance of your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast.
I hope you’ll try it!
p.s.: That light pink milk glass bowl is nearly always used to serve whatever Cranberry Salad I have. Some traditions you just don’t mess with at holidays. *wink*
- 1 -12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup apple cider
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon apple cider
- 2 cups diced fresh apple
- ½ cup toasted pecans, broken
- ⅓ cup finely diced celery
- Zest of one orange
- In a medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat, add the cranberries, apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Cook until the cranberries begin to "pop," about 10 minutes (don't overcook or they will turn to mush and have a bitter taste)
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and the tablespoon of apple cider and mix until the cornstarch dissolves and there are no lump.s
- Add the corn starch mixture to the cranberries in the sauce pan and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the apples, pecans, celery and orange zest.
- Pour the slightly cooled cranberry mixture over the top of the contents of the bowl and stir to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate. This mixture will thicken slightly as it chills.
- Serve cold.