Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cranberry, Ginger and Orange Chutney

Even though I'm clearly someone who loves to experiment in the kitchen, when it comes to holidays, I'm mostly a traditionalist. It doesn't mean that every dish on my holiday table is completely simplified, but I just don't think this is the time of year to be throwing chili powder into my cranberry sauce. This cranberry sauce nicely bridges traditional flavors with creativity, using the classic combinations of cranberry and orange and cranberry and ginger to great effect. My love for Joanne Chang was well-documented on this blog just earlier this week, and if you've come to trust in her palate after trying Thai Red Curry Squash Soup, I encourage to try her cranberry chutney recipe for your next holiday celebration. This cranberry sauce is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and acidic flavors, but not too exotic that those with not-terribly-adventurous palates will run from the dinner table. That being said, if you're feeding people who truly flavor-phobic, this recipe sans balsamic vinegar and ginger is still a wonderfully balanced combination of cranberries and oranges, which would be delightful served with turkey, chicken, or even pork. While I enjoyed a healthy helping of this on Thanksgiving day, perhaps my favorite use was the cranberry chutney, sharp cheddar, and turkey melt I made on black Friday while tucked safely away in my home, as far from the madding crowd of shoppers as humanly possible.
Cranberry, Ginger and Orange Chutney 
from Joanne Chang via Food and Wine
makes about 5 1/2 cups

2 large navel oranges 
2 pounds fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 cup light brown sugar 
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
1. Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl. Cut the orange sections into 1-inch pieces.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the cranberries and water with 1/4 cup of orange juice from the bowl and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, both sugars, the ginger and orange pieces and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The chutney can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

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