Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cranberry Sauce & Relish Recipes

Thanksgiving always means cranberry sauce to me. I’ve been making my own cranberry sauce for years and today I’m featuring some of my all time favorites that have appeared previously on My Carolina Kitchen, each with its own special twist and worthy of another showing. Each year I normally try a new cranberry sauce, but vertigo continues to give me problems so for now I’ll be sticking with these sure-to-please favorites.  

The first is our traditional cranberry sauce flavored with red wine with a citrus undertone. I call it “French” cranberry sauce because of the red 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 used 1 cup)
2 oranges, navel or tangerines

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, using a microplane rasp style grater, grate a little cinnamon “dust” over the cranberry sauce and garnish with the remaining citrus zest. Serve at room temperature.

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. Cool to room temperature.

The next recipe is 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 cranberry sauces.

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.

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 pecans. Cover and chill. If you make this a few days ahead, leave out the nuts until just before serving so they remain crunchy.

The last 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.

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.

For better viewing, click on photos to enlarge.  

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, and Weekend Bites at Simple Recipes.
Have a nice weekend everyone.


  1. Fantastic! They all look divine.



  2. Each one would be most welcome at my holiday table Sam;-)

  3. They all look and sound good..I can imagine the nut chore!

  4. Great recipes. We used to buy the cranberries straight from the bog when we lived in WI. Yummy

  5. They all sounds delicious. My husband suffers from vertigo. Have you gone to an ENT? The doctor put my husband through some twists and turns of the head and the vertigo goes away after a few days of partially sitting up while sleeping.

  6. I've never met a cranberry sauce/relish that I didn't like. Here, now, I have several more to try. So sorry to hear that you're still having vertigo. Hopefully you'll be back to normal soon.


  7. Sorry, ich schreibe nur in Deutsch... :-)
    Was für ein wunderbarer Blog. Ich habe diese Seite bei FB bei Cathy gefunden.
    So leckere Sachen, wundervolle Rezepte.
    Ich bin ab sofort ein Fan von dir.

    Herzlichst Sophie

  8. All of these are lovely, can't wait to try each of them. Thank you. Hope you are better, soon.

  9. Cranberry Sauce is so tasty....I love yours. In fact, I made your French Cranberry Sauce last year. We loved it....hope the vertigo disappears soon.

  10. I always buy canned sauce but that first one seems so easy! I too hope you feel better soon. Must be really vexing to deal with.

  11. Sam, although I have never used wine, the first one appeals to me most. We use orange juice instead, I must give yours a try. I read an article in Parade Magazine where Jeffrey, Ina's husband said they no longer spent Thanksgiving in France because she couldn't find any cranberries. Now they spend New Years. Sound romantic to me.

  12. So many delicious choices. We always go to friends for Thanksgiving…I think they might really like the sauce with the red wine. Hope the vertigo goes away soon.

  13. Sweet and Sour always catches my eye Sam, love the addition of vinegar! Also like the horseradish in the last one... I hope you feel better soon:@)

  14. Yum, I'm going to make the cranberry-fig relish!

  15. These all sound delicious! My favorites of these are the Sweet & Sour Cranberry Relish, which I think I am going to make this year, and the last recipe, Fresh Cranberry Relish.

    Thank you for sharing these with us.


  16. What a collection of cranberry relishes and sauces! I love the recipe withe the cassis and dried cherries! I hope you'll feel better soon with the vertigo and that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sam!

  17. Hi Sam, love all the different variations!! Cranberry sauce is a must at our house for Thanksgiving! Hope the vertigo goes away soon.

  18. Sam, I like to use dried cranberries in my cereal and I drink some "Lite" cranberry juice every day. However, I've never understood cranberry relish and turkey. On the other hand, Laurie loves cranberry sauce and she'll really like the variations that you've posted. Have a great Thanksgiving! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  19. Yesterday I was in the supermarket and wanted to get some cranberries...150 grams for 2 euros..So I didn't get them. Now I regret.
    They all look scrumptious, but that sauce is my favourite.

  20. Love homemade cranberry sauce! Thank you for the variations.

  21. I'm hard put to decide which one to try. The orange one is reminiscent of my mother's favorite (Although, I have to admit, not mine.) Your orange version is intriguing, though. They all are, Sam. Refreshing changes from the ordinary!

  22. How wonderful it must have been to have a pecan tree in your back yard growing up! When I was a kid, they seemed so exotic to me, having never been to the south yet. My oldest daughter and I are the only two who will eat cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving so she loves the dried cherry version that I make. This year, I'm going to try adding a splash of Creme de Cassis - great idea!

  23. All of your recipes sound DELICIOUS and are BEAUTIFULLY photographed!
    Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  24. Yep, I agree...number 1 is my choice. This is one area of the Thanksgiving meal where I don't mind guilding the lily but there is nothing like the combo of cranberries and orange. I will have to try the addition of red wine. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

  25. Thanksgiving or Christmas would not be the same without a good cranberry sauce or relish to serve. Thanks for sharing these recipes.

    Happy Thanksgiving Sam!


  26. A couple of good looking dishes Sam. The one we make leans more toward the relish.

  27. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Meakin and your family.

  28. I have never made cranberry sauce before, but wow! These look wonderful. I think I'll have to try the Cherry one this year

  29. I remember you've posted your cranberry sauce recipes before....such a great idea, Sam. And such variety. I'm going to try the one with dried cherries this time. Love the color!
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  30. Your French cranberry sauce was delicious Sam. David loved it too. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Meakin.

  31. I hope you feel well soon, Sam! My husband is a big fan of figs so I would like to try that recipe, Unfortunately, my children like the "jelly" style cranberry sauce from the can --- sigh!

  32. Lovely and a colourful sauce,looks awesome

  33. oh i love them all. they look fresh and sweet and perfect to top a turkey, chicken or even ham!

  34. Thanks for all these wonderful recipes! Something for everybody! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family

  35. I definitely will do the cranberry sauce in the red wine - like the idea of a little bit French and a little bit American. Also love your adaption of your mother's recipe - must be the pecans. Jealous you had a pecan tree even if they were a hard nut to crack. Nothing like them fresh! Happy Thanksgiving!

  36. I'm dying to try your Cranberry Sauce with Cassis and Dried Cherries, but it will have to be with my immediate family. The Thanksgiving crowd is not very adventurous. Pinned this post. Thanks so much for sharing this with us on Weekend Bites, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  37. It's just not Thanksgiving without the cranberry & these recipes look delicious. I particularly love the sound of the Cranberry Sauce with Cassis & dried Cherries - YUM! Will have to give it a go - thanks for sharing & Happy Thanksgiving:)

  38. Isn't it amazing what a beautiful archive you've built up through the years, I love every one of these recipes! Happy Thanksgiving Sam!

  39. I love cranberry sauce too. All of these versions look delicious and would be perfect on the holiday table.
    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Catherine xo


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