03 December 2006

Sad, Sad Cranberry Relish

Sad, sad cranberry relish.
Amidst the bustle of Thanksgiving dinner, no one remembered to put it out on the table.
There it sat in the back of the fridge, just waiting for someone to notice the lack of a certain ruby hue on the dinner plates.
But no one noticed.
No one missed the celebration and merriment that he cranberry relish could have happily, scarletly, provided.
Perhaps because it was so incredibly easy to make, it escaped our consciousness as the flurry of the Thanksgiving plating ensued. Thank goodness for the apricot brandy in it, which is possibly extending its refrigerator life, allowing us to relish the relish more than a week after the holiday for which it was created.

It really is unfortunate that the relish was neglected, because it is so very delicious. Scooped up in a forkful alongside any cut of meat, nudged up on top of a piece of bread, accidentally swept up with a morsel of stuffing, it adds a cheery, citrus note to every mouthful.
Not too sweet…a chunk of orange peel thrown into the food processor lends it a tart edginess. I was overzealous in my orange-peel-adding, and as a result the relish became too bitter. But, thanks to my recent obsession with all things cherry, some cherry preserves in the fridge sweetened the relish and balanced the flavors flawlessly.

I realize it is a little late to be suggesting Thanksgiving courses. But I would say that this relish, which can be put together in three to six minutes, depending on how long it takes you to peel an orange and unscrew a bottle of booze, is a bright, fresh side that can complement many hearty meals, holiday-themed or not.

Cranberry-Orange Relish (takes four minutes, seriously)

12 oz. bag of cranberries, picked through to remove the icky ones
1 orange, peeled
1 piece of orange peel (about 2 inches by 2 inches)
1 apple, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons of apricot brandy, or any fruit-infused liquor (optional)
¼ cup of cherry preserves
¼ cup of apricot preserves
sugar, to taste (optional…if your preserves are sweet enough, you will not need sugar)

Throw above ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse until the cranberries have broken down and only the occasional whole cranberry remains. Do not blend into a purée.
Add more ingredients according to your taste. Too sweet? Add more orange peel. Too bitter? Add more preserves.
That’s it, you’re done!


Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

The perfect cure for your sad relish... Add a scoop or two to some plain yogurt. Your orange-cranberry relish will make a happy breakfast.
I've been eating it everyday since Thanksgiving!

aria said...

erielle, those pictures are stunning! we had roast pork last night that was just crying out for something like this. bravo, bravo!!

Kate said...

That is so funny....we forgot to put out our relish too! My sis makes wonderful cranberry relish and while my husband was looking over our dishes on Thanksgiving and proclaiming it an 'Orange' holiday, not once did I suddenly go "OMG! The relish!"

It took us about two days to eat it all gone.

J said...

I love cranberry sauce, but I just do cranberry, sugar, water, boil, done. But I would absolutely notice if it weren't on the table, because I LOVE cranberry sauce. :)

For those of you who aren't purists, this looks mighty tasty.

Shannon said...

Like J, I usually stick to a more traditional cooked sauce (although mine had orange and ginger added to it.) This sounds so good, though, that I may need to break out of my cooked cranberry rut.