Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cranberry relish, tart and sweet

Cranberry orange relish by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

The rich foods of Thanksgiving really benefit from a spoonful of cranberry on the plate, be it cooked whole berry sauce, the wiggly jelly cylinder of my childhood, or another favorite, chilled cranberry-orange relish. This is an old-fashioned favorite that's appeared in various incarnations on the Thanksgiving table through the years. Sometimes it's dressed up with pecans, which I don't particularly care for - I like the simple taste of tart cranberry, balanced with sugar and the zip of citrus.

The recipe is as easy as can be: an orange, a  bag of cranberries and sugar, all tossed in the food processor and blitzed to bits. My problem has always been the bitterness of the orange - the peel and pith and sections are all tossed in together, and the bitter pith casts its shadow over the whole. My solution: eliminate the negative by zesting the orange, peeling away the pith and using the juicy orange sections in the relish.

Pith-less Orange-Cranberry Relish

1 medium seedless orange

1 (12 ounce) bag fresh whole cranberries

Pinch of salt

1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Zest the orange. Cut the orange in half and peel off the pith - each half should come off in one piece. In a food processor, pour in cranberries. Add pith-less orange sections, pinch of salt and sugar. Start with the smaller amount of sugar and adjust upwards to taste. Process for about 15 seconds or until desired texture. Stir in orange zest. Store in covered container in refrigerator.

Text and image copyright 2010, Lucy Mercer.

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