Part II of choosing Thanksgiving sides…
I have a few more Thanksgiving sides in the queue, to include a special dessert that does not involve pumpkin (not that there’s anything wrong with pumpkin), so stay tuned. But today is all about cranberry relish.
First things first, how did canned jellied cranberry sauce ever find its way to the Thanksgiving table? Seriously, what exactly should one be thankful for when it comes to jellied canned cranberries?
So, what are the ingredients in canned cranberry sauce, any guesses? Ocean Spray’s version contains cranberries, high fructose corn syrup (read GMO corn), corn syrup (read GMO corn), and water. No thanks.
By comparison, I’ve used fresh cranberries, orange peel, fresh ginger, star anise, red wine, and honey. And, this relish couldn’t be any easier to prepare. Just add all the ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about ten minutes until the cranberries soften and the relish thickens.
This relish is plenty tart from the cranberries, but balanced by the sweetness of the [buckwheat] honey, and lightly spiced with star anise, ginger, and orange peel.
I used a [buckwheat] honey that I purchased at the Union Square Farmer’s Market in NYC a few weeks back. Needless to say, you could use any type of honey, though buckwheat honey has a decidedly deep, complex flavor.
Am particularly fond of buckwheat honey — a dark-colored honey with a robust, distinct molasses flavor gathered from the nectar of the delicate, white flowers of the buckwheat grain. It just so happens that darker-colored honeys are richer in antioxidants than lighter-colored honeys.
Cranberry Relish with Honey, Ginger, and Star Anise
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1/2 cup honey
1 cup red wine
a couple strips of orange peel (the bitter white pith removed)
3 star anise
1 heaped tablespoon freshly grated ginger
Place all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the cranberries are soft and the liquid has reduced, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.