This English-style cranberry conserve (with nuts) is the bee’s knees! My husband learned the chef business under Art Wood in the 1960’s at the Wagon Wheel Lodge in Rockton, Illinois. Art cooked for the Queen–yes, yes, Elizabeth of England! I don’t know whether he served this to her, but he did serve it at the Wagon Wheel Lodge with turkey and wild game (pheasant, quail, duck). To make this surprisingly easy-to-make, chefly dish, start with:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- skin of 1 navel orange chopped into 1/4-inch dice (save the flesh of the orange for the next step)
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger.
Combine all in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer approximately 8 minutes to carmelize the sugar and reduce the liquid. Then add:
- 1/2 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
- 12 ounces whole fresh cranberries
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 peeled orange, segmented and chopped
Cover and simmer until berries are all “popped,” approximately 20 minutes. Reduce heat to the lowest simmer and add:
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (not artificial maple-flavored breakfast syrup)
- 1 medium sweet apple, peeled, chopped and soaked for 5 minutes in the juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Turn off heat. Let the berries rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Cool, spoon into glass jars and refrigerate. (Leave 1/2″ head room for expansion if you want to freeze any of the jars–or process in a hot water canning bath. A jar of this makes a sweet gift!)
Make plenty, and then be brilliant with the extra relish (it’s nutritious stuff!):
- Mix equal parts relish and softened cream cheese; spread between stacked pancakes or french toast.
- For a quick, delicious dessert, stir 2 tablespoons relish into 1/3 cup whipped cream. It’s a fool!
- Spread it on a turkey sandwich.
- Swirl it into your oatmeal.
- Stir 1/2 cup into a basic muffin or quick bread recipe.
What’s your signature Thanksgiving side dish? (feel free to post a link to your recipe)