Cranberry-Orange Relish

November 27, 2007 at 3:02 AM (cranberries, blueberries, huckleberries and bilberries, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, fusion, USA, various citrus fruit, vegetables/ fruits)


    Alright folks…first in line from the Thanksgiving spread is this humdinger of a recipe from the pages of Martha Stewart Living…yes, I’m one of them! I’ve been collecting these issues for years now, and, truly, most of the missing issues from my stacks are from the first year… I figure that I’ll have lots of projects to keep me busy in my old age… but, once in awhile, I notice a recipe that gets my immediate attention, as this one did! It reminds me of the best of what fusion cuisine has to offer: a beautiful bridge between two or three cuisines that stands as a testament to a universal love of good food, fresh ingredients, and hope for a peaceful future.

    Although I hardly consider myself to be a food expert in any way, I have seen a few things. And in this little, brightly-coloured side-dish (which is really just fine on its own as a healthy snack!),  I am reminded of the orange-walnut salads of Morrocco, the spicy-sweet-sour yum of Thailand, and the chaats and fresh chatnis of India, all combined with an ingredient hailing from the northern part of the globe: cranberries. (Wisconsin, the state I live in is, by the way, the U.S.’s largest producer of these nutritious darlings– so I have no excuse do I?) I made one small change in the original recipe though: instead of peeling and de-membraning the oranges before dicing, I washed them well and used the whole fruit. Certainly this makes for a more rugged salad, but then, there are far too many anti-oxidants (and flavour!) in citrus peels for them to go to waste, so if you feel you must peel, then please do so…

Cranberry-Orange Relish

2 C fresh cranberries
2 oranges
1/4 C red onion, minced
1 jalapeno (or other mild to medium-hot green chile), seeded and minced (just one?!)
2 t fresh ginger, grated, or sliced thinly and then cut into shreds
2 stalks of celery, sliced 1/4″ lengthwise and then across into 1/4″ dice
1/2 C sugar (more or less to taste)
2 T lime juice
1/4 C fresh spearmint leaves, sliced into ribbons
1/4 pecans, freshly roasted and chopped coarsely (Walnuts and hickory-nuts are closely-related, so these make a fine substitute) 

1)Rinse the cranberries, drain and place in a food processor. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped, or chop by hand roughly into 1/4″ pieces. Transfer these to a large mixing-bowl.

2)Wash the oranges well and dry. Using a sharp knife on a clean board, slice them into 1/4″ rounds, then stack a few together at a time and cut into 1/4″ strips, and then crosswise into 1/4″ dice. Empty these and any juice that has escaped into the bowl.

3)Add the minced onion, jalapeno, chopped celery and shreds of ginger to the contents of the bowl. Mix well.

4)Stir together the sugar and lime juice until somewhat combined and pour this over the salad. Toss well, adjust sweet-sour balance to taste, and then chill for at least an hour or two, mixing well once again before serving. (The flavours continue to blend and mellow as days pass, and even now, at day four past the first serving, the leftovers are quite lovely…and…*munch munch*…gone.)

5)Just before serving, sprinkle the nuts and ribbons of mint-leaves over the top.



  1. Manisha said,

    That is some medley of tastes! almost like a bouquet! Oranges, ginger, celery, lime juice and mint! Wow! And no cooking of the cranberries?! Wow! This must be really tart!

    I’ve always winced when I see onion in cranberry chutneys or sauces. I don’t know why – reminds me of salsa perhaps!

    I have a large bag of cranberries sitting in my fridge. I just didn’t get the time to make my jalapeno cranberry chutney, the recipe for which I can’t seem to find. I might just go with this then. Need to get oranges and all the other stuff. But seriously, no cooking??

    Absolutely raw and fresh-tasting! You’d like it I think. The onions add that salsa cruda/fresca flavour…similar to the raw onion-lime juice flavour in so many foods. I have a temptation to leave the celery out and add something more neutral like shredded cabbage or maybe jicama, cilantro and some chaat masala…and then have it with papads. Although the cran-orange combo is so popular for sweets, this one is definitely a sweet-sour savory. And nope, not too tart…depends on how much sugar you use, the sweetness of the oranges.

    Jalapeno-cranberry chutney eh? Like a cooked Desi-Anglo type with vinegar and sugar?

  2. pusiva said,

    Looks beautiful. I´m sure it tastes the same too.

    Thanks! Yes indeed it is as pretty to look at as devour!

  3. Asha said,

    I added Pineapple too to this relish for TG day!:))

    Oh! That would be awesome! It looks like someone likes to play with recipes, and read Martha too! 🙂

  4. musy said,

    The stuff that you can finish in one go :).

    You said it! Easy…makes more time for a complicated dish! 😉 hehehehe

  5. shilpa said,

    I was going to ask u a stupid question then went ahead and read the intro and got the answer :D. My first intro of cranberry was from “Friends” where Chandler makes something with Cranberry :). So this can be eaten alone? Whole orange? doesn’t it get too bitter? I have never tasted these red beauties…how do they taste? are they sweet?

    (u know..trying to be a bit careful after eating those cute looking mushrooms which had beefy taste :D).

    Cranberries are sweet-sour…but more sour. Between an orange and a lemon in sweet-sour taste. Similar to pomegranates, which some people love to eat plain, and some like to add a bit of sugar…which is why the cranberry-orange combo is so popular- the sweetness of oranges cuts the sourness of cranberries- especially good are the two juices mixed together.
    And with the bitterness of the orange-peel, you might want to make it first with the peels removed, as I know that you are not fond of things bitter. But you know me! Addicted to the bitter taste for some reason. 🙂

    Oh yes, the shiitake mushrooms! I think you are safer with fruits dearie! 😀

  6. Rina said,

    I like cranberries. So this should be gr8 with a tarty taste.

    Such a versatile berry eh? I am inspired to find new ways of using them after eating this!

  7. shilpa said,

    Thanks Pel. I think I will try these soon. more request…do u have any veggie or chicken gravy that goes with mashed potatoes? I thought u would be the best person to ask this. Recently I tried mashed potatoes & gravy in KFC…. after tasting one spoon I was sure something was wrong :(. Then I searched in google and found almost all the recipes had beef/pork :(. God knows when I will learn my lesson…anyway..I want to eat this combo, not only the religious thing..but after accidentally tasting beef/pork, I am sure I am not comfortable with the taste….So I need something either veggie or chicken. I have spent a lot of time on googling this, but somehow I am not sure what to pick up…Please help

    Please help eh? 🙂 Help Shilpa get some gravy…we could start a benefit event for you! 😉

    That was me trying to be funny… but gravy, well…I’m not sure about KFC’s gravy…it SHOULD be just chicken gravy, but you never know! I think a few of the fast-food french fries still contain beef products as flavour, it was a big discussion in the media a few years ago, and some of them went all-vegan in response. I tried searching for the ingredient list of KFC’s gravy, but it appears to be a secret, though some people have tried futiley to reproduce it at home.
    A western gravy is a thick sauce, usually meat-based, which accompanies cooked meats and usually gets poured over starchy, bland, side-dishes (like mashed or other potatoes, stuffing, biscuits, toast). It is traditionally made from the drippings (the liquid and browned bits left at the bottom of a roasting pan after meat is cooked) or, if the meat is braised (simmered in water and oil/fat), it is made from the liquid that remains in the pan. To these drippings are added either: white flour or cornstarch (or other thickener, but flour is traditional) and a liquid such as water, milk or cream…and extra seasonings. Gravy should be a bit salty- not painfully salty, but a little saltier than normal food. Sometimes the flour is fried in oil or fat in a pan first to brown it; this is called a roux (pronounced “roo”). It adds depth and complexity to the flavour- same as browning besan, spices to make the flavour more complex. Then, the drippings and liquid are added slowly, stirring with a whisk or fork to avoid lumps. It is brought just to a boil, thinning with more liquid if necessary. Often at home we skip this step of making a roux: we take the flour in a cup and slowly add the liquid (water or milk) and then pour this into the pan of drippings and stir while bringing it to a boil. Season and salt it. Done.
    A fine gravy would be poured through a strainer before serving, but this is not usually done for casual meals; those browned bits in the gravy are delicious!

    Those are normal gravies, but there are many special gravies as well: “mushroom gravy” has sliced, pre-sauteed or steamed mushrooms added, “brown gravy” is made by frying the roux quite darkly, “onion gravy” has well-browned onions added to it, “white gravy” or “country-style gravy” (served with country-fried steak (AKA “chicken-fried steak) or biscuits) is made by frying pork sausage first, remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon and add the flour to the fat, fry briefly, then milk or light cream is added, the fried sausage is returned and then it is seasoned well with black pepper- or white pepper.

    For all of these gravies, it would be hard for me to tell you how much flour or liquid to use, as it depends on how much of the drippings you have. I didn’t start making these gravies until my mid-20’s- before that I knew Indian and Thai cooking techniques much better than my own country’s cooking, so I had to learn by doing, and I acquired “a feel” for making decent gravy. But it is a sauce, and like me, I think this instinct will help you as you attempt these! The hardest part is to keep lumps from forming…. but one of my grandmothers was an excellent cook, but she never, in all of her days, was able to have the patience to add the liquid slowly and keep stirring: she had to strain EVERY batch of gravy that she made. 🙂

    Hope this helps, but feel free to ask me any questions!

  8. Cynthia said,

    Cranberries and oranges – this dish is so visually appealing. The colours!

    And let me tell ya, a little bit of colour brightens up this current northern landscape!

  9. Anita said,

    “…love of good food, fresh ingredients, and hope for a peaceful future.” Amen…peace! ChilE/chilli – whatever…

    That could have been another post you know? Since we are free to ask questions…err…what can I substitute for cranberries?! 😆 Everyone is talking cranberries now…I’ll have to dig something up…strawberries I countered with mango…cranberries with….?

    I love gravy…must make it for A next time when I make mashed potatoes…who said mashed potatoes are bland?! Not if you add enough butter! 😉

    That’s right…potatoes, in this case, are used as a bland, starchy background for more flavourful things; in fact a favorite little combo of mine- which I rarely indulge in- is mashed potatoes topped with plain steamed veggies, butter and black pepper! Although, the other day I was contemplating hing-and-chile-butter… cranberries? Hmmmm….pomegranates would do well in its place for this salad!

  10. shilpa said,

    😀 thanks for all the info Pel. Now let me think what to use for gravy. I have only one option..chicken…so i will have to think what to do with the chicken pieces after I use the liquid for gravy.

    We sometimes take leftover chicken/turkey, mix it with the leftover gravy and smother toast with it. I grew up eating “heavy” foods like these; I think my mother made potatoes for dinner about 4-5 times per week, mashed was common with roasts and stews…neither my mother nor I eat this way often these days; for us, this is an old-fashioned treat to recall the “good old days” before much was known about saturated fats and simple carbohydrates. Nowadays, I rarely eat meat as I feel “out of balance” when I do, and my mother eats very lean meats and western-style split-pea or lentil soup for protein.

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