During the chilly months I usually focus on roast chicken or turkey, or baked salmon. They feed me well while enveloping my home with wonderful aromas.
I usually keep on hand condiments that go well with these simple dishes. Once frozen cranberries came on the scene, making them available long after the holidays are over, I make sure that at least one of my homemade relishes or chutneys accompanies the entrée.
In addition to using cranberries in condiments, I include them in other dishes as well. Especially in the middle of winter, when really great looking salad veggies are at a premium, cooked cranberries add some sparkle as well as tangy flavor. You can also make a vinaigrette using cranberry concentrate in place of vinegar.
Cranberries also work well in side dishes. To create a beautiful and elegant dish, try simmering little pearl onions in apple cider along with fresh or frozen cranberries and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cooked berries can also be folded into a dish using a base of rice, quinoa, or barley.
For a new twist on the classic baked apple dessert, scoop out a hollow in a big Rome apple. Into the scooped-out cavity, stuff some dried cranberries along with golden raisins, chopped dates and candied ginger before baking.
For the following relish, I give the classic combination of cranberries and orange a new twist by adding pomegranate and apples. Also tart and tangy, the flavor of pomegranate harmonizes nicely with cranberries, while diced apples and cider add sweetness so that you can enjoy this assertive relish while using less sugar. (If you can’t find pomegranate concentrate, which is available in many markets, use juice instead.)
The pectin in apples also helps this Pomegranate Cranberry Relish thicken naturally. Finally, the warm flavor of cardamom makes a nice change from the usual cinnamon and cloves.
Pomegranate Cranberry Relish
– Makes 2 cups or 8 servings.
- 1 large navel orange
- 1/2 cup apple cider or juice
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 Tbsp. pomegranate concentrate or juice
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
Cut away the rind and white pith of the orange. Separate segments of the orange and remove seeds. Set the orange aside.
In a deep saucepan, combine the apple juice and sugar. Set the pot over medium high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries, orange and juice, pomegranate concentrate, and cardamom. Reduce the heat and simmer until the berries have popped and the relish resemble the canned, whole berry kind, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the relish to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Soupy when hot, the relish will thicken as it cools. Covered in the refrigerator, this relish keeps for a week.
Per serving: 97 calories, 0 g. total fat (0 g. saturated fat), 25 g. carbohydrate, 0 g. protein, 2 g. dietary fiber, 8 mg. sodium.
“Something Different” is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.