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When we think of Thanksgiving dinner, certain foods come to mind for each of us. The list may include turkey, dressing or stuffing, cranberries, corn, and pumpkin pie to name some of them. For most of us, cranberry is that red jelly cylinder that comes from the can and looks like a kind of red corrugated log. Others of us have been fortunate to have homemade whole berry cranberry sauce or cranberry and orange salad.
Prepare a Different Kind of Cranberry for Thanksgiving
This is the year you should prepare a different cranberry side dish. Delight family and friends with a cranberry chutney. It offers an exotic flavor to go with turkey, ham and other holiday meat dishes. Spread it on the hot rolls made from grandmother’s secret recipe. You will be pleasantly surprised by this different, piquant flavor.
This recipe is very straightforward, with only one fruit, cranberries. The vinegar used in this cranberry chutney recipe is balsamic vinegar. Other chutneys use different kinds of vinegar in various amounts to add that acidic bite. If you do not have balsamic vinegar try using your favorite red wine vinegar.
What is chutney? Chutney is a thick sauce made of fruits and vegetables, with vinegar, spices and sugar. It was originally served with dishes found in the East Indian region. During colonial days chutneys were embraced by the British and also made their way to the United States. It is a method of preserving bountiful produce and adding healthful flavor to a meal.
You can find balsamic vinegar in most grocery stores. Balsamic vinegar is a condiment that traces its roots to Modena, Italy. Because it is aged for twelve years in increasingly smaller barrels, each a different type of wood, it can be expensive, but it is so good. It is somewhat sweet and acidic both.
Cranberry Chutney for Thanksgiving, Christmas…or Any Time!
Not surprisingly this cranberry chutney recipe includes two of the sweet spices traditional to Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, cinnamon and nutmeg. What will surprise you as you prepare cranberry chutney is the spicy heat of cayenne pepper and cumin. As you become more experienced with the sweet and hot flavors you may also add ginger, cloves or other aromatic spices.
Be prepared for a small surprise if you have never cooked with fresh cranberries. As you bring the liquid to a boil with the cranberries in it, you will begin to hear a popping sound. Each individual berry will explode from the heat. First the insides will look white, but as you cook the vinegar, sugar and berries the fruit will take on a glossy or glazed appearance. The cooked fruit will have a dark red color.
Chutney may be served as a relish or side with your meal. It is also delicious with leftovers, spread on slices of good bread, with leftover ham or turkey for sandwiches. Whip chutney into softened cream cheese to spread on crackers or sliced baguette rounds as an appetizer or snack.
For the day after the feast, explore the idea of making individual Thanksgiving “bowls”. Crumble some dressing in the bottom of your bowl, top with holiday meat, gravy, and perhaps a scoop of mashed potatoes and garnish this culinary creation with a dollop of chutney.
Using your cranberries in chutney will give you a taste of the traditional, with an exotic and spicy twist. Your guests will be so impressed, yet this is an easy and simple dish. I am sure you can find a way to enjoy it this holiday season or any time fresh cranberries are plentiful in the store.Print
- 1 Package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- In medium saucepan, over high heat, combine cranberries, vinegar and sugar; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, and cumin.
- Simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is very thick, stirring frequently.