Monday, November 25, 2013

A Plethora of Cranberry Sauces & Relishes

There is never a Thanksgiving at our house without cranberry sauce and this year will be no exception. I’ve been making my own cranberry sauce for years and each year I try a couple of new ones.

The first new one is fresh cranberry relish and it’s important that you use fresh cranberries, not frozen ones, because the cranberries are not cooked in this recipe. The ingredients may sound a bit strange, but the fresh flavors of the cranberries and oranges are very refreshing. The relish just bursts in your mouth and the crunch of the nuts gives it a nice dimension. The first bite reminded me of fresh oranges flavored with cranberries and it looks like colorful sunrise on the plate. I have to admit this one stole my heart.

Fresh Cranberry Relish
Adapted from Red Book magazine – makes 2 cups
Printable Recipe

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries (do not use frozen cranberries)
1 small navel orange (unpeeled), quartered or if large, cut into 1/8’s
¼ cup good orange marmalade
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup golden raisins, chopped
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted, plus a little for garnish
A half slice of fresh orange for garnish

In a food processor, roughly chop cranberries, oranges, sugar, raisins and horseradish to combine. (Check to make sure the oranges are fully incorporated before continuing.) Remove relish from processor and stir in the nuts. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. Relish can be made 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving and garnish with a chopped nuts and fresh orange slice.

The next new recipe is also a relish and would be good with smoked turkey. It’s from a very old Cooking Light recipe and is fairly low in sugar compared to most cranberry sauces. It cooks for a relatively short period of time compared to most.

Sweet & Sour Cranberry Relish
Adapted from an old Cooking Light recipe – serves 6
Printable Recipe

½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups fresh cranberries
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons good cider vinegar

Coat a saucepan with cooking spray. Place over medium high heat until hot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender. Add cranberries, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in the vinegar. It can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.

The next three you may remember from last year. This is a citrusy one flavored with dried figs and crunchy nuts. It is another relish and I really enjoyed the crunch of the nuts. My mother used to make a molded cranberry jelly with pecans and the nuts in this one brought back fond memories for me of my childhood. I can still see the pecan tree in the back yard and remember well what a chore it was to crack the pecans and separate the nuts from the shells.

Cranberry Fig Relish
Cooking Light – serves 12
Printable Recipe

1 cup fresh orange juice (about 4 oranges)
¾ cup chopped dried figs
½ cup dry red wine
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1/3 cup chopped roasted fresh pecans or walnuts

Combine the orange juice, figs, and red wine in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add both sugars and the cranberries. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until mixture is slightly thick and berries pop, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. Stir in nuts but leave a few for garnish. Cover and chill. If you make this a few days ahead, leave out the nuts until just before serving so they remain crunchy.

This cranberry sauce is a mixture of fresh cranberries and dried tart cherries, flavored with crème de cassis, a popular French black current-flavored liqueur commonly used in a Kir or a Kir Royale. The cherry flavor really comes through in this cranberry sauce and offers a new and exciting taste to the traditional.

Cranberry Sauce with Cassis and Dried Cherries
Cooking Light – serves 12
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup finely chopped shallots
2/3 cup dried tart cherries
½ cup crème de cassis (black currant-flavored liqueur)
¾ cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh lemon rind

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, swirl to coat the pan. Add shallots and sauté for 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let them brown or burn. Add cherries, crème de cassis, sugar, and cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes or until cranberries began to pop, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon rind, but save a little for a garnish. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Last, but certainly not least, is our traditional cranberry sauce is flavored with red wine with a citrus undertone and I’ve dubbed it “French” cranberry sauce because of the wine, even though the French don’t have a cranberry sauce that I know of. No matter how many new ones I try, this one will always be my favorite.

My Carolina Kitchen’s “French” Cranberry Sauce
A citrus twist on a classic – serves 12
Printable Recipe

1 (12 ounce) package of fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup dry red wine, preferably French
¾ cup to 1 ½ cups sugar, or to taste (I use 1 cup)
2 navel oranges

Put the cranberries (no need to thaw if they’re frozen) in a sauce pan with the one of the cinnamon sticks, red wine, and sugar. Zest the oranges and set aside half of the zest for a garnish. Add the remaining zest and the juice of both oranges to the cranberry mixture. Stir the cranberry mixture and bring to a boil.  Partially cover the saucepan and simmer about 15 minutes, until the cranberries have burst. Remove from the heat, let cool, and discard the cinnamon stick. The sauce will firm up as it cools. It can be refrigerated, covered, for up to five days. At the last minute, garnish with the remaining fresh citrus zest. Serve at room temperature.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.

For better viewing, click photos to enlarge.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating this Thursday and I hope everyone has a very nice weekend.


  1. I love cranberry relish with oranges Sam and your fresh one sounds great! The one with garlic is very new to me! Happy Thanksgiving Week-enjoy:@)

  2. Scrumptious! I love the look of that fresh cranberry relish.



  3. Cranberry sauce is right up there in importance with the turkey! We love relishes and sauces. My mother always did the fresh relish. I still remember the Thanksgiving that she dropped the crystal bowl holding that relish. It shattered on the kitchen floor. Dinner was just not the same. In remembrance of that, I always have a can of whole berry cranberry sauce in the pantry just in case!

    Wishing you and yours a happy and delicious Thanksgiving!!


  4. Each one looks delicious, Sam. My favorite combines cranberries and oranges. My mom used to make a fresh sauce that she ground with her hand grinder attached to the counter in the kitchen. Love the nuts and horseradish in your first recipe. I want to try them all.

  5. I can never make just one cranberry has to do with choices...I always want to have a choice. I have never made one with figs so that is the first one I will try....then the one with cherries..thank you for sharing!

  6. The last one looks divine. I usually make mine with orange zest but I will add the wine this time. Cooking has already started here with the broth!..Which reminds me, I've got to go turn it off. Been simmering since 2.

  7. great cranberry recipes have a wonderful thanksgiving hugs to you both

  8. Each single one looks fantastic, Sam. I love particularly the relish!!

  9. Thanks for all the great cranberry recipes, Sam. It's always fun to mix it up every year. I always enjoy your posts! Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!


  10. Beautiful color! I love to try the first one but I will keep the rest of cranberry recipes for future holidays. Thank you so much,

  11. I just made my favorite cranberry sauce receive today which is similar to the one with dried cherries which I love. What a delicious assortment of recipes, Sam.

  12. Dear Sam, There certainly is more than one way to make a cranberry!! These all are delicious!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  13. Is there anything prettier? The red shows up so beautifully in photos.
    I've never made a fresh cranberry relish..what a good idea. Also love the recipe with dried cherries. So many to choose from! My recipe is similar to the last one. Going to experiment next year!
    Happy Thanksgiving, Sam!

  14. It's so hard to pick a favorite - I usually like a little citrus, and maybe a splash of liquor in my cranberries, but the fig style sounds very intriguing. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sam!

  15. I would love any one of your cranberry relishes. So pretty. Happy Thanksgiving Sam and Meakin!

  16. I love that first presentation with the orange slice! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Meakin!

  17. Thank you! What a wonderful collection! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  18. Happy Thanksgiving Sam! I love the variety of your cranberry dishes. The addition of horseradish in the fresh relish is unique and sounds really tasty.
    Thanks for the comment on my blog!

  19. The cranberries are never missing from Thanksgiving table either- Yours looks divine.
    Growing up we always had canned cranberry sauce and these days it is fresh all the way!

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  20. Wonderful assortment of cranberry relishes/sauces. I love it on turkey sandwiches too. Thanks I am pinning this.

  21. I need to try the one with less sugar. Plus I always like sweet and sour. Thanks for sharing all. That fig one truly is scrumptious.



  22. Hi Sam,
    This is a great collection of Cranberry Goodies. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and thank you so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  23. Hi Sam, I'm planning to cook a turkey for the first time ever for Christmas this year, and I'm going to make your French Cranberry Sauce to go with - it looks beautiful.


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