Every family has that gotta-have-it dish, the one somebody’s been making for so long that no one remembers who first brought it or where the recipe came from.
One year, it’s accidentally left off the Thanksgiving checklist—or some smartypants decides to try a version she saw in Gourmet or the Times or Jamie Oliver or wherever—and the next year, over sheepish spoonfuls of the tried and true, somebody busts out a remember-when folly about the detour.
For us, that gottahave is cranberry-orange relish.
Uncooked. Bright. Tangy. Sweet. Fresh. And a perfect foil to all that richness on the rest of your plate.
It takes all of 15 minutes to make (including clean-up); it keeps a couple weeks in the fridge, easily outlasting the turkey leftovers (give it a go with pork tenderloin); and it freezes well, too (save half for Christmas).
Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish
I’ll give you the framework here (just berries, sugar, and a whole orange). If you want to riff, I’ve had great success with three variations: (1) adding half a small red onion, (2) adding a knob of fresh ginger, (3) subbing in 1/3-cup of granulated maple sugar for a 1/2-cup of the regular.
Over the years, I’ve seen similar recipes on the web, but nothing that pre-dates when this stuff first hit our family table decades ago, so Mom, if you remember where this originated, maybe you could weigh in with a comment.
- 2 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries, rinsed and picked over
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 1 orange, preferably seedless
Scrub the oranges and cut them into rough chunks. If they have seeds, do your best to pop them all out.
Put everything into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Give it a blitz until everything is nicely combined. Texture is important here, so stop well short of a full-on puree. I aim for a fine mince, which, with my machine, doesn’t take more than 30 seconds or so. Don’t worry if it looks dry at this point—it’ll be plenty juicy shortly.
Let the fruits and sugar macerate in a covered bowl for at least 4 hours (even better overnight). Refrigerate for up to two weeks—or freeze for up to six months. Before serving, bring it to room temperature and give it a good stir.