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11.20.2006

Combine-and-boil

Now, I know I’m really pushing the limits here, with less than 72 hours until the big day, but I just can’t let another year sneak by without sharing one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving spread. I hope I’ve caught you in time. Hurry - before you read another word, jot this on your grocery list:

apricot preserves
white distilled vinegar
raspberry preserves
ground cloves
Grand Marnier
fresh cranberries
crystallized ginger
dried tart cherries

That task complete, you’re over halfway to having a bowl of this kicky, warming, sweet-tart stuff on your table. This cranberry chutney is basically a combine-and-boil job, but you’d never know that by its complex, knee-buckling flavor.



My mom has been making this recipe for, oh, at least ten or 15 years. I’m hard-pressed to think of a Thanksgiving when we haven’t eaten it. Mom doesn’t remember where she first found the recipe, which is written in her handwriting on an old slip of paper. But in any case, we have been making it for long enough – and I have tweaked it enough – that it now really feels like ours. I remember many a Thanksgiving afternoon spent standing around the butcher-block island in our kitchen, with my dad on one side, blending cranberries and oranges into a raw relish, and my mom on the other, stirring a pot of this chutney on the stove. Come dinnertime, I would mound a spoonful of each on my plate, alternating raw and cooked with each bite of turkey. But the next day, when the time came for a leftover turkey sandwich, it was always the Tupperware of chutney that I turned to first, with its soft, juicy cranberries, winy dried cherries, and spicy bits of ginger. I would slather the ruby conserve onto a slice of whole wheat bread, top it with a fanned-out layer of turkey, and finish with a second slice of bread. Mayonnaise was optional; my mom spread her second slice with a thick smear, but I studiously avoided the stuff. Either way, that was how we did Thanksgiving, and its leftovers too.



This year, I’ll be toting a Tupperware full of cranberry chutney to Brandon’s family in New Jersey, where I will - [deep breath] - roast my very first turkey without maternal guidance. Lord help me. At least the chutney is a sure thing - that, and the fact that my mother is only a phone call away.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.


Cranberry Chutney with Crystallized Ginger and Dried Cherries

This chutney is, of course, delicious with turkey, but it also takes kindly to being heaped on the back of a buttered biscuit. We have also tried a spoonful of it in a bowl of sweet potato soup, and it was surprisingly delicious. [Thank you, Dan and Shauna, for giving Brandon such a brilliant idea.] And it also makes a lovely, wintry appetizer atop a crostini smeared with fresh goat cheese. Oh, cranberry chutney, the places you’ll go!

A few notes about ingredients: the original recipe calls for raspberry vinegar, which Brandon tells me is “so ‘80s,” and anyway, most brands of the stuff are sort of gross. If you have some in your pantry, feel free to use it here; otherwise, do as we did and simply substitute a mixture of white distilled vinegar and raspberry preserves. It does the trick just fine. As for the dried tart cherries, Trader Joe’s sells them quite cheaply, and they’re very tasty. And about the cranberries: be sure to pick through them carefully and discard any rotting, mushy, or generally icky ones. There is usually a good handful, if your experience is anything like mine. Lastly, note that this chutney reaches its thick, jammy, finished consistency only as it cools, so it will still be somewhat loose when you first remove it from the heat. The photographs above were taken when mine was still on the runny side, only a few minutes after I had pulled it from the stovetop. Yours will look quite a bit thicker when it is fully cooled.

24 ounces apricot preserves
¾ cup raspberry vinegar, or ¾ cup white distilled vinegar plus 1 ½ tsp raspberry preserves
A pinch of salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ cup Grand Marnier
2 bags fresh cranberries, nasty ones discarded
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 ¼ cups dried tart cherries

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the apricot preserves, raspberry vinegar (or vinegar and raspberry preserves), salt, cloves, and Grand Marnier. Stir to mix, and place over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue to cook – it will bubble aggressively, and you should stir regularly to keep it from scorching – for about 10-15 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cranberries, and cook until they are soft but not popped. [I know that they’re ready when I hear one or two of them pop; that’s a good indicator that most of them must be getting pretty soft.] Add the ginger and cherries, stir well, and remove from the heat. Cool completely before serving. The chutney will thicken considerably as it cools.

Yield: 8-10 servings

51 Comments:

Blogger lobstersquad said...

looks beautiful. I´ve never seen a real live fresh cranberry in my life, but I bet it´s great.

12:25 AM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

Holy catz...two Orangette's in two days??? I need to buy a lottery ticket now!! lol

5:31 AM, November 21, 2006  
Anonymous Amy said...

This looks fantastic, and I am definately going to try it. We are a raw cranberry relish family in general (1 bag of cranberries, 1 navel orange, 1 good sweet apple, all processed until coarsely chopped with sugar added to taste.)

This looks positively fantastic though. Also, your blog is beautiful and really well written. I found you the other day from a link on Tea and Cookies. You've totally won me over as a regular reader!

5:56 AM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger Homesick Texan said...

I never thought about cranberry chutney with sweet potato soup but of course, it makes sense. I just love how most fall flavors complement each other so well.

Good luck with your turkey! They're formidable birds and hard to mess up so I'm sure it'll be terrific.

6:30 AM, November 21, 2006  
Anonymous emily said...

oh, but how will you get the chutney on the airplante? damn you, TSA!

6:48 AM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger hannah said...

thank you for providing me another excuse to make the soup again. and another delicious sounding recipe! have a wonderful thanksgiving, i know your bird will be to die for molly!

7:01 AM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger Jessie O. said...

Mmm thank you for the delicious cranberry recipe! Have a lovely time with Brandon and his New Jersey family! How fun!

8:20 AM, November 21, 2006  
Anonymous Luisa said...

Your very own turkey! You can do it with your hands tied, Molly! I'll be thinking of you ;) And I'm printing out this cranberry recipe to bring up to Beacon where Ben's family and I are pow-wowing on who makes what: I'm hoping I get to make this! Thank you and your mom for the recipe. xxoo

8:47 AM, November 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait to make this - I just checked your site to find a cranberry recipe to make and voila! There t'is.
I wasn't too sure about the one I found on epicurious using brown sugar, thyme and dijon...maybe another time. I'll be making yours this Thanksgiving ...and
Thanks!
Kiki

9:57 AM, November 21, 2006  
Anonymous The Anonymous Mama said...

Beautiful site. I've linked to it on my blog. Love the photographs! They make me hungry...

10:05 AM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger christianne said...

Turkey, sh-murkey...you've got nothing to worry about, its going to be delicious. And if you're at all worried about it, just keep the wine flowing! :)

This chutney looks phenomenal. I think I might try out your goat cheese appetizer suggestion. Can the chutney be made a couple of days ahead of time? Or is it best day-of?

Happy Turkey Day to everyone!

10:42 AM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

I eat my leftover turkey sandwiches the exact same way, sometimes with mayo, sometimes not. I look forward to that more than the meal I think. Maybe not.

11:23 AM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger Scorpio said...

Try it with chicken quesedillas -- a local restaurant use some kind of delicious cranberry chutney with their quesadillas, and it was fabulous. No reason yours shouldn't go just a divinely.

1:44 PM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger Catherine said...

Haaaaapy Thanksgiving!

1:12 AM, November 22, 2006  
Anonymous Amy said...

I made this yesterday, and all I can say is wow. It's great.

Thanks again!

I put up a photo of my results over on my blog.

http://amyspickles.wordpress.com

5:47 AM, November 22, 2006  
Anonymous Christina (in NJ!) said...

Oh, this looks awesome, I am so making this...even with only one day before Thanksgiving.

Welcome to New Jersey! Hopefully you'll find the freshest cranberries around, here in NJ. :D

7:07 AM, November 22, 2006  
Anonymous kayenne said...

WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!! That's the second time this week that I've read about cranberries... something I love so much that I drink the concentrate pure out of the bottle(ocean spray or berri brand is great!). Also something that isn't available fresh in this country, except maybe as garnish in some ritzy-fancy hotel where it costs an arm and a leg. dried ones just won't do. too sweet with sugar.

7:29 AM, November 22, 2006  
Blogger Shauna said...

Oh my dear, Dan and I were happy to introduce you to the wonders of a dollop of cranberry chutney on top of a warm autumnal soup. (And the fact that Brandon could help discover it for you.) However, of course, I have to say — it was really all just Dan's doing.

My dear, you crack me up. Wondering if 72 hours notice was enough time to catch people before they did their shopping? You should have seen the Whole Foods on Roosevelt at noon today. I shudder to think of it at 6 pm tonight.

That reminds me, I need vanilla beans and yellow wax beans yet. Must run.

Happy Thanksgiving, cherie.

3:21 PM, November 22, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Oooh, lobstersquad, I hate the thought of you having never had a cranberry! You and I should work out an international FedEx shipment...

I know, wheresmymind - I can hardly believe it either! I couldn't leave for Thanksgiving without sharing this chutney recipe - even if it meant that I was up packing and organizing until 1 am on the night before our flight! Yikes.

Amy, I'm thrilled to see that you tried it, and that you - and hopefully your raw-relish-loving family - approve! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. [Oh, and P.S. So glad that you found me - and from Tea and Cookies, no less! We just had dinner with Tea on Sunday night, here in Seattle. She's wonderful.]

Homesick Texan, thank you for the good wishes, re: the turkey! We picked it up at the store today, and it's relaxing in the fridge before its big day...

Fear not, Emily! It was easy. I decided that none of our Tupperware lids seal quite well enough, so I put the chutney in glass jars instead, and then I wrapped them in plastic bags and two wool scarves and stuck them in my suitcase, which I then checked. They arrived safe and sound. Phew.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear Hannah! And thank you again for the sweet potato soup recipe. We made it on Sunday and ate it for dinner and lunch the next day. It makes a perfect fall meal, but you already know that, of course. xo

Thank you, Jessie O.! We arrived late yesterday and spent this morning buying lots of groceries. And then this afternoon I made a big pot of butternut squash soup with vanilla bean. Next up: pate brisee for our chocolate pecan pies...

And happy Thanksgiving to you and Ben and Ben's family, dear Luisa. Can't wait to see you and catch up. xo

You're welcome, Kiki! So glad you stopped by! That Epicurious recipe does sound a little funky...

Thank you, Anonymous Mama! So sweet.

Christianne, I'm so sorry that I couldn't reply to this earlier, but yes, the chutney can definitely be made ahead. It keeps beautifully! I'm sure it would be good for at least a week in the fridge, if not more. [Be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.] Heck, you could probably even can it, if you wanted, and then it would last for ages. Happy Turkey Day to you!

Julie, I love leftover turkey sandwiches - maybe even more than the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. Mmm, turkey sandwiches...

Scorpio, that would be tasty! Thanks for the tip.

And a happy one to you, Catherine!

Thank you for the hearty welcome, Christina!

Kayenne, maybe we should arrange an international FedEx shipment of fresh cranberries for you too! 'Tis the season (for cranberries)...

My dear Shauna, go get those vanilla beans and yellow wax beans! I just slit open a vanilla bean, myself, and hooo boy, so good.

3:31 PM, November 22, 2006  
Anonymous andrea said...

thank you for this! i needed a good cranberry recipe--the one i tried last year didn't go terribly well--so i'm off to combine-and-boil! have a lovely thanksgiving, i'm sure the turkey will come out lovely!

6:22 PM, November 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This chutney is delish! I've made a version of of it for years...I use a homemade raspberry liquer instead of the raspberry jam, as I have some and never use it for anything but cooking. I do miss good raspberry vinegar (the Silver Palate one was great...). I think one version of this chutney is from Pasta & Co., from way back when. Being and Oregon girl (before I came back to my Seattle roots) I can say that a fresh cranberry is to die for--and so easy to freeze, one need never have the yucky canned product again. And yes, the Roosevelt Whole Foods was amazingly busy at 4pm...but everyone was still so happy. Cheers all, and don't overcook that turkey. Thanks for this terrific blog--love Orangette!

9:17 PM, November 22, 2006  
Blogger Miz Hatbox said...

Your chutney recipe made me hungry... I love tart cherries and crystallized ginger and cranberries and Grand Marnier and... so I immediately ran out and bought everything. But then I stopped...just because I like each of the ingredients, did that mean it would all be good mixed together? Would I really be able to justify three different cranberry dishes at Friday's T-giving dinner? (and what about Naomi?)

But at lunch today I was making a turkey sandwich (the Diestel sliced kind from the deli) and decided to toss some cranberry sauce (which I'd already made) into it. and then I got wacky and threw some of the candied ginger in (because once candied ginger is in my pantry, all bets are off!) and oh, they complement each other quite well, and then I was sold.

The chutney is cooling now and I am very excited about it. This business of throwing all my favorite things together in a saucepan may not be such a bad idea...

(by the way, the ginger inspired some reminiscing...
http://miz-hatbox.livejournal.com/196214.html.

Have you found any really good, searingly-gingery crystallized ginger? or a recipe for same?

11:24 PM, November 22, 2006  
Anonymous kayenne said...

FedEx will allow THAT? That would be a wonderful Christmas present! =D Anyone who does that will receive a package of heavenly, wonderful, natural cacao tablets from me. It's the native hot chocolate that you cook and simmer. None of that cocoa powder with the cocoa butter extracted. you'll actually see the cacao oil floating on top! This is the pure stuff... gonna be doing an article for one soon under one of wellfed.net's blogs. ;)

7:10 AM, November 23, 2006  
Anonymous Leah said...

Dearest Molly, what a wonderful recipe. I made it the day before Thanksgiving - my first foray into cooking anything cranberry - and it is fantastic. It's garnered raves from all corners (the boyfriend corner was particularly thrilled by it, so yay!). Luckily it makes a lot so that little containers of it have been able to go home with various (lucky) people without keeping me from repeatedly sneaking to the fridge to dig into it at all hours! Hope your Thanksgiving with Brandon and his family was grand - I'm sure your turkey was outstanding. xoxo

2:25 PM, November 24, 2006  
Anonymous kuE said...

nice & great food-blog. i placed a link from mine ;)

3:20 AM, November 25, 2006  
Anonymous sue said...

thanks for the recipe--I had one similar but lost it, now I've got a checklist!

try adding a pinch of cayenne to it.

8:47 AM, November 25, 2006  
Blogger janna said...

Yum!
We made this to go along with duck (perfect!) and had it on sandwiches, too. Best of all? We put a little dollop next to our pumpkin cheesecake. Unbelievably good!

http://static.flickr.com/110/306205889_1792668a90_b.jpg

Many thanks!

9:46 AM, November 26, 2006  
Anonymous blair said...

oh my this looks incredibly good. I'm too late for Thanksgiving, but I may make this anyway. Yum!

10:20 AM, November 26, 2006  
Anonymous Andy said...

Molly!

Made this the night before Thanksgiving, and got raves from EVERYONE. The ginger is bright and magical, and the vinegar was so refreshing on a plate of butter and cream filled dishes. The leftovers are jammy and delicious- I'm eating mine with crumbles of chevre and shreds of turkey on warm toast. Thanks for a great recipe.

Cheers!

10:38 PM, November 26, 2006  
Anonymous home cook said...

Wow, I totally love this blog. It’s so clean, professional looking, and I love the recipes to be found here! You totally have a new reader!

12:27 AM, November 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made this and paired it with baked brie & crackers and everyone loved it! Thanks for making me look good!

3:18 PM, November 27, 2006  
Blogger Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Obviously we don't have thanksgiving here in the UK, but for me it's like Christmas come early! Great practice!

5:27 PM, November 27, 2006  
Blogger Miz Hatbox said...

I am now a cranberry chutney addict. Except I ate the last of it and am jonesing for another fix. So very sad. I will have to remedy this as soon as the roads are clear.

9:46 PM, November 27, 2006  
Blogger tina said...

Think it's okay to can and give out as presents? Sounds/looks fantastic.

12:30 PM, November 28, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Oh my friends, what sweet comments! I'm so sorry to have not replied to them sooner, because I'm just thrilled that so many of you made and loved this old chutney of ours. I know that making a new recipe on a holiday like Thanksgiving is a daring idea, so I'm touched that you trusted me to not steer you astray. Thank you - and three cheers for crystallized ginger and cranberries, huh?

And Tina, if you haven't yet given up hope of getting an answer from me, here it is: yep, you most certainly could can this and give it as gifts. I haven't tried it myself, but I can't imagine that the chutney would be bothered by the canning process. Go for it!

10:41 PM, December 04, 2006  
Blogger Buona Forchetta said...

Dear Molly,

I absolutely LOVE your blog. I cannot wait for your book!

I realize that I'm commenting on a very old posting, but I'm getting an early start on making my Christmas presents (or most of them) this year because I have 20 concerts to sing between Nov. 28 and Dec. 21st - so there really won't be time for the normal 10 varieties of cookies I make and send. I've decided to try my hand at canning with the help of this wonderful recipe and the apple butter that you and Luisa seem to love so much.

Anyway, I just wanted to know if you have a brand preference for the apricot preserves. In my experience, they can really vary in taste so I just thought I'd ask.

Thanks for your amazing writing, photos, and general respect for the everyday - it is easy to forget amidst the hussle and bussle of NYC just how lucky we are for the "everyday" and after reading your posts, I always breathe a sigh on contentment.

Love,
V

PS - my brother lives in Olympia and cannot wait for Brandon's project to open.... nor can I wait to come an visit!

8:29 AM, October 03, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

V, thank you for such a sweet comment! I love the thought of your Christmas presents. I think you're going to be really pleased with this chutney and the apple butter. And as for the apricot preserves, you know, I think I've generally used Bonne Maman. But my mom always uses Smucker's. They're quite different jams, but they both taste delicious here.

6:41 PM, October 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know what might be a good substitute for Grand Marnier? Will the recipe suffer too much if I skip it?

Thanks!

7:22 PM, November 01, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Anonymous, I wouldn't skip it entirely. It contributes not only liquid, but also some flavor and sweetness. I can't say for sure what you should substitute, but my best guess is an equal amount of orange juice.

10:47 PM, November 02, 2008  
Anonymous rachel said...

Shame on me. I've had my eye on this recipe since you first posted it, but today is the first time I actually made it. I had to use Cherry Marnier instead (don't ask me why we have that, and not Grand Marnier), and it was so good that I don't know if I will even try making it any other way. Although I can't imagine it would be any less fantastic with Grand Marnier. Thanks Molly!

9:36 AM, October 10, 2009  
Anonymous Juliann said...

This is delicious (and easy, which is a plus). Cranberry sauce is one of the few turkey day dishes I don't have a favorite recipe for yet. Not anymore. This is getting added to my book of keepers for next holiday. Can't wait to try it with some cheese for an appetizer too. Thanks!

6:11 AM, November 19, 2009  
Anonymous DC Sarah said...

Hi Molly!

Leaving from work shortly to procure the last few items to make this for the FIRST TIME (what is my problem??). Can't wait to taste it. My Thanksgiving table tomorrow will be largely filled with recipes from you, and my fiance and I couldn't be happier. I wanted to make the touch of grace biscuits but alas forgot to order the flour in time, but HELLO cream-braised sprouts and the bread pudding you posted in B.A., and honey ice cream! A very, very happy and delicious Thanksgiving to you and Brandon!

11:46 AM, November 25, 2009  
Anonymous Corrie said...

I managed to get some fresh cranberries and made this. But the cranberries are so big that they keep rolling off my bread or my fork.
Do you think I could try to mash or puree it next time?

6:58 AM, December 11, 2009  
Blogger Molly said...

Corrie, you could mash it a bit, yes, but I don't think I would puree it. I also wonder, from what you wrote about your cranberries, if maybe you didn't cook the chutney quite long enough? The consistency should be like a thick, very chunky jam, and I find that the cranberries are soft and sticky and don't tend to want to separate and roll away. (If the photos above seem to say otherwise, know that they were taken before the chutney had fully cooled down and thickened to its final texture, during which time the cranberries soften or deflate a bit.)

11:39 AM, December 11, 2009  
Anonymous Louise Reynolds said...

What a great recipe. I can't wait to try this. But can I ask how much is 2 bags of cranberries please? I'm in Australia and not sure what your bag size is.

11:11 PM, November 06, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Louise, that's a good question. Cranberries here are generally sold in 12-ounce bags, so for this recipe, you'll need 24 ounces (~700 grams).

11:18 AM, November 07, 2010  
Blogger La said...

Hello Molly! This recipe sounds delicious and I want to try it, but have a small family and am not sure how quickly it will be eaten. Would it freeze well? And how far in advance do you think I could make it (without having to freeze it in order to keep)? Thanks for any guidance!

7:40 AM, November 21, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

La, this chutney keeps very well. I've kept it in the fridge for at least a week, if not more. And you can freeze it, yes.

6:55 PM, November 21, 2010  
Blogger Mel said...

Oh my goodness! I have only recently discovered that I like cranberries, and this is the first time I've actually made cranberry sauce. This version is so delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe, Molly.

2:02 PM, November 25, 2010  
Anonymous Frédie said...

Hi! I've read your book and loved it. I tried a few recipes and they were good (specially the ratatouille!). I don't know what went wrong with this one, well I know: it's the raspberry vinegar, it overpower everything! I'm not sure what I did wrong but it's a full catastrophe!
I guess I better leave this alone; Christmas is around the corner and wont have time to experiment too much.
I'm a little disappointed but hey! Maybe next time!
Thanks for the great book and I am looking forward to try some new recipes.

8:35 PM, December 08, 2011  
Blogger Sarah S. said...

I made this last year for the first time while I was living abroad and cooking a Thanksgiving meal for four Brits, an Australian, and two South Africans. I had to improvise: raw ginger, no candied, dried cranberries, not cherries, orange preserves instead of apricot, and apple for raspberry vinegar. I also had no oven, only a small toaster, and made people sit on the floor. It was SO FUN, and this chutney so good, my gosh. I ended up making it for Christmas gifts for friends, especially my local friends who hadn't ever experienced cranberries.

This year, I'm back in Seattle and so excited to try it again. I think I'll have to make two versions - one true to recipe and one my Japanese-twist. Thanks for this addition to my holiday staples, and for this lovely blog. I've read it for years and write too few comments.

11:08 AM, November 18, 2013  

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