Cook's Illustrated (October/November 2011)
O, cranberry sauce! You may be our favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. A tart oasis amidst a desert of savory sameness. A refreshing, zesty dip into a pool of sweet-sour bliss. A cool, calming cloth on the fevered brow of Pilgrims'---
Eh, whatever. We really like cranberry sauce.
And we love this version with fennel and golden raisins!
The October/November Cook's Illustrated includes a great feature on chunkier, thicker alternatives to the classic jellied cranberry sauce. It actually starts with a base recipe for Cranberry Chutney with Apple and Crystallized Ginger and then includes four different variations. We opted for the one with fennel and golden raisins.
Why that one? Well, for starters, it seemed like the version that was the most different from what we're used to, so we thought it'd be fun to try. The other reason? We love fennel.
And the fennel is such a nice addition here. It brings an entire new dimension to the sweet-tart cranberry sauce. The fennel's anise flavor adds an incredibly refreshing note. And the golden raisins are delicious, too.
So, yes, we will wax poetic about this cranberry chutney, thankyouverymuch.
About how its garnet-hued glory is a cooling sea breeze across the sandy dunes of stuffing and sweet potatoes. How the glistening ruby-rose goodness augurs a triumphal jolt from the sleepy-eyed reverie of fowl and gravy. How the gorgeous scarlet stuff shines like an icy beacon through the murky mists of muddled masses...
Makes about 3 cups
If using frozen cranberries, thaw them before cooking.
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup packed brown sugar
12 ounces (3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add shallot, fresh ginger, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot has softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add water, vinegar, and sugar. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups cranberries and apples; return to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have almost completely broken down and mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes.
Add remaining 1 1/2 cups cranberries and crystallized ginger; continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and cool for at least 1 hour before serving. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
Spicy Cranberry Chutney
Increase oil to 2 teaspoons and substitute 1 stemmed and seeded red bell pepper cut into 1/4-inch pieces and 2 seeded and minced jalapeños for fresh ginger in step 1. Increase cooking time in step 1 to 5 minutes. Increase water to 3/4 cup and omit apples and crystallized ginger.
Cranberry Chutney with Fennel and Golden Raisins
Increase oil to 2 teaspoons and substitute 1 cored fennel bulb cut into 1/4-inch pieces and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed for fresh ginger in step 1. Increase cooking time in step 1 to 5 minutes. Increase water to 1 cup, omit apples, and substitute 1/3 cup golden raisins for crystallized ginger.
Starting with 2 oranges, remove four 2-inch-wide strips zest from 1 orange, then peel both oranges and remove segments. Set aside zest and segments. Increase fresh ginger to 4 teaspoons and add 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds to oil together with fresh ginger in step 1. Increase water to 3/4 cup and add orange zest and segments to pot with cranberries in step 2. Omit apples and crystallized ginger.
Cranberry Chutney with Pear, Lemon, and Rosemary
Remove two 2-inch-wide strips zest from 1 lemon, then peel and remove segments. Set aside zest and segments. Substitute 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary for fresh ginger. Substitute 2 peeled Bosc pears cut into 1/4-inch pieces for apples and omit crystallized ginger. Add lemon zest and segments to pot with cranberries in step 2.