cranberry orange relish.

so, let’s talk for a minute about cranberry sauce. it’s a staple at thanksgiving, no holiday table would be complete without it. yet have you ever noticed how little of it is actually consumed? everyone feels more comfortable knowing that the jiggling red blob with the can imprints is at the table, yet everyone is a little too freaked out by it to actually consume any.

and who came blame them? let’s face it, canned cranberry sauce is gross. there’s hardly any flavor to it, the “sauce” is really less of a sauce and more like faintly cranberry-flavored unsweetened gelatin, and it honestly does nothing to enhance the meal whatsoever.

a good condiment is like a secondary character in a film: it may not be the star, but we still pay attention when it’s there. and we pay more attention, and want to see more of that supporting actor if their role is executed brilliantly.

to put it simply, canned cranberry sauce wins razzies. delicious, homemade cranberry sauce wins academy awards.

alright, i promise i’m done with the film industry metaphors.

trust me when i say that this cranberry sauce is a knockout. the color is a rich, deep burgundy. the flavors are alternating layers of tart and sweet, with citrusy notes and hints of cinnamon. the tartness of the berry is enhanced by both sugar and salt, and the brightness of the orange really shines in this sauce. there’s no need to add any gelatin or pectin, as the natural pectin in the cranberries help to thicken the sauce and make it gel naturally.

this cranberry sauce is damn good. it’s bff is turkey, hands down. it’s so good, you may find yourself standing at the fridge sneaking spoonfuls from the jar in the middle of the night. every year i always make a few extra jars for my dad, who stockpiles it in the freezer and pairs it with peanut butter for the most bizarre, yet delish pb&j in the world. let’s make some, shall we?

cranberry orange relish

this sauce is absolutely gorgeous. beautiful. exquisite. did i mention delicious? oh yeah, it’s delicious, too. i highly suggest doubling, or even tripling the recipe, as this will cook down quite a bit during cooking and you’ll wish you had more. trust me.

what you’ll do

in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, cinnamon stick, and orange zest. let this cook for about 5-7 minutes, just so the berries begin to pop and release some of their natural juice. stir infrequently.

add the sugar, salt and orange juice, and stir until combined. let this cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the liquid in the pot looks nice and syrupy. add the water, and reduce the heat to low.

let the relish simmer on the stovetop for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until it has a nice thick consistency.

this sauce will be fairly chunky, and that’s exactly how i like it. i like being able to see the burst berries, and i think the texture is just lovely. but if you like a supersmooth sauce, feel free to puree this with your immersion blender or standard blender.

fish out the orange peel and cinnamon stick and discard. let the sauce cool to room temperature, and spoon into airtight containers. the sauce will keep in the fridge for about two weeks, or in the freezer for almost a year. if you freeze it, take the container and place it in a bath of warm water to defrost.

seriously. that’s it. you hardly have to do a damn thing, and this sauce comes out PERFECT. every time. pinkie swear. with almost no effort, and in hardly any time at all, you’ll have made a gorgeous cranberry sauce that’s almost as big a star as the turkey. everyone will ooh and ahh, and all your guests will be secretly thrilled that you’re not serving that god-awful gelatinous monstrosity known as canned cranberry sauce.

you impress all your guests. everyone loves you for your culinary prowess. see? everybody wins!

cranberry orange relish

yield: 1 cup

note: this recipe can be easily doubled or tripled, and freezes beautifully!

Ingredients:

12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed (make sure to remove any stems or yucky-looking berries)
the peel of one orange
juice from one orange (about 2-3 tablespoons)
1 cinnamon stick, whole
1/3-2/3 cup white sugar (feel free to add more, but i like my sauce really tart)
2/3 cup water
pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, cinnamon stick, and orange zest.

cook for about 5-7 minutes, just so the berries begin to pop and release some of their natural juice. stir infrequently.

add the sugar, salt and orange juice, and stir until combined.

cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the liquid in the pot looks nice and syrupy. add the water, and reduce the heat to low.

let the relish simmer on the stovetop for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until it has a nice thick consistency.

this sauce will be fairly chunky, but if you like a supersmooth sauce, feel free to puree this with your immersion blender or standard blender.

transfer to an airtight storage container, and allow to cool to room temperature before sealing, about 30 minutes.

store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a year.

to defrost, place container in a warm water bath.

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2 Responses to “cranberry orange relish.”

  1. #
    1
    Heather — November 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I just made this and it turned out delicious! I added a little bit of ginger to mine, too.

  2. #
    2
    Sam — November 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    just made this! substituted lime:orange, went with upwards of 2/3 cups of sugar, and used the immersion blender: perfection! i never would’ve thought fresh homemade cranberry sauce would be so simple and oh so yummy!

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