Why do cranberries only get love around Thanksgiving time? I guess dried cranberries have sort of become a thing over the past decade or so (thanks Craisins) but fresh cranberries need to take center stage more often, too. Why? Because they are beautiful and delicious.
I don’t think I was ever subjected to old-school cranberry sauces (of the jelly mould variety) in my youth, and if I was I must have blocked it from memory. As an adult I’ve become quite fond of cooking cranberries down into chutneys to serve with turkey or spread on sandwiches. I thought I had a winner of a recipe in years past until I tried this one this year. This one involves pears, ginger, lemon and orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, and shallots. It’s a whole lotta beautiful in a bowl.
Once you’ve cooked the cranberries long enough they start to soften and burst and become wonderful. Yes I made this chutney for Thanksgiving but I totally think it would be good any time of year that you are able to find fresh cranberries. When paired with a little Brie cheese it makes an out-of-this-world grilled cheese. Trust me on this one. It would also make an excellent addition to a burger off the grill in the warmer months or an excellent accompaniment to a cheese plate with some crackers, grapes, and candied nuts. Dream big. Just don’t save it for only one day a year.
Cranberry, Pear, and Ginger Chutney (modified slightly from recipe found at www.epicurious.com)
Combine apple cider vinegar, onion, ginger, lemon peel, orange peel, cinnamon stick pieces, crushed red pepper, and ground cloves in heavy large saucepan. Boil mixture until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add cranberries, brown sugar, and pears; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until pears are very tender, berries collapse, and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat; discard cinnamon stick pieces. Using potato masher, mash mixture coarsely. Transfer chutney to bowl and cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.