Friday, November 19, 2010

Cranberry Chutney - 2 versions

Cranberry sauce and Thanksgiving.  I don't think you can have one without the other.
 Cranberry Chutney flavored with apple, orange and spices

This year I wanted to shake things up a bit because that is just what I do.  I always change up something. I don't really follow recipes so I get to cook how I am feeling which is nice and luckily no one complains!   Most dishes that I fix at Thanksgiving are fundamentally the same.  A brined bird, cornbread stuffing with sage, mushroom gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmellows on top (I think this dish is nasty sweet and I will not eat it but it is one of the first things finished!), homemade rolls, and a few veggie side dishes like brussels sprouts, creamed spinach or green beans. Oh yeah, and chocolate pecan pie=total and complete YUM.  There are flavor variations every year that differ.  Pecans or sausage in the cornbread dressing, mushroom gravy with sage or thyme, pecan pie flavored with vanilla or rum and this year the sweet potatoes are getting a do over (those Marshmellows might have to go!)

This year the cranberry sauce is going to be replaced with cranberry chutney.  I am not really sure how one is different from the other because one of these recipes is similar to cranberry sauce I have been making for years.  Maybe I have been making chutney all along. 

I have made two kinds. One is on the sweet, orange flavored type (a lot like the classic sauce I have been making for years) and one is more savory.  The savory one contains celery and onions but is still sweet and tangy.  The orange flavored one is my favorite, I think.  I reserve the right to change my mind!  It contains chopped fruit, orange liquor and spices.  They both sat in the refrigerator for a couple of days and the flavors improved quite a bit.  The savory one did not taste that great the day after I made it and I almost threw it away.  I am glad I didn't.  It still has crunchy celery after several days which I didn't expect and it taste fabulous.  It seems you taste the flavors separately when you taste either one of these recipes right after you make them.  After they have been in the frig for a couple of days the flavors just seem to come together as one.   

Here are the two recipes that I came up with.  See what you think!
 Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer.
Simmer until thickened slightly.

Cranberry Chutney flavored with orange, apples and spices
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 medium cooking apple, chopped 1/4 inch dice
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries
Zest of 1 orange
1 orange, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons of orange liquor, such as Gran Gala or Grand Marnier
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup of apple cider or fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or a small cinnamon stick
Pinch of cardamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of raisins or dried cherries (optional)

Place all ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.  It will thicken slightly and will thicken more as it cools.  Make a day in advance or several days in advance to allow flavors to meld.

Note:  There is a lot of leeway in this recipe for personal taste.  The dried cherries really add something special and is a very different ingredient than raisins.  Another change that can be made is to add 1/4 cup of a medium bodied, ruby port or a fruity red wine (that you might be serving at Thanksgiving!) instead of the orange liquor, which gives it a depth of flavor that is really nice.  The port/wine and cherries go very well together.  Remember to test for sweetness to your taste, cranberries can be quite tart.  Feel free to skip the liquor all together, you will still have a fabulous sauce.

Next!  For the more savory chutney.  I think this recipe with the celery and onion will be perfect with the Thanksgiving meal because the flavors in this sauce compliment the flavors in the dressing, gravy and turkey.
All ingredients into a large sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 30 minutes until slightly thickened.
Cranberry Apple Chutney.  The brown sugar contributes to the color.

Cranberry Apple Chutney  savory version but still sweet and tangy
makes 2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cooking apples, chopped 1/4 inch dice
2 stalks of celery, chopped 1/4 inch dice
1 medium onion, chopped 1/4 inch dice
1 tablespoons of fresh ginger, finely minced
Zest of 1 orange
1 orange, peeled and chopped
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of golden raisins

Place all ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  It will thicken slightly and more so as it cools.  This is not a super thick cranberry chutney, but thick enough.  Make this at least 3 days in advance for best flavor.  It has a savory flavor to it along with the tangy, sweet characteristics of classic cranberry chutneys and sauces.

Print Recipe

Here are the two compared sided by side.  I am serving both at my table and see which one everyone likes the most.  I know already that my daughter loves the one on the right without her even tasting it!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!



  1. That orange flavored one sounds divine! Love the twist on the classics.

  2. I vote for the Orange-Cranberry Chutney. I love the combination of flavors you looks delish!

  3. I love your orange cranberry sauce. It's similar to the recipe that I make, sweet and tangy.

  4. I'm gonna try to put together a batch of the orange cranberry to bring home for chriatmas, i'll let you know the results. thanks for sharing.

  5. No one seemed to go for the more savory one. I thought it was really good but then went straight for the Cranberry, apple, orange, spice one too.

    Salty Pear - Can't wait to hear how it goes. It is an easy dish to travel with since the flavors really like a day or two to meld.

  6. I just realized I never commented on this recipe! I made the sweet one last year for thanksgiving and every person that tried it said it was THE best cranberry sauce they'd ever eaten. I accidentally left the liquor out, but didn't miss it. I'll be making it again tomorrow!

  7. Thanks Emily for coming back and sharing. I am so glad that it worked out well for you. It is soooo easy to make and it is a do ahead! I am just now getting started on my do aheads for Thanksgiving. Have a great Holiday!


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