Home Cooking Recipes
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Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour

There is no substitute for cranberries

You can switch from turkey to guinea hen, to pheasant, to chicken or duck. But there is no way you can duck serving cranberries to glorify, compliment and perk up whatever bird is on the platter. Time was when the only way some of knew how to cook cranberries was the recipe on package. These days, good cooks have put their brains and taste buds to work and come up with all kinds of great recipes featuring the cheery red berries.

Cranberry Jam

Can be made four days ahead and it can be used in a trifle if you have one coming up on a Holiday menu or as a topping for mince pie.

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 bag (12 oz.) fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries (3 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup water

Scrape vanilla seeds from pod into a heavy saucepan. Add pod and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 20 minutes. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools. Remove vanilla beans and pod and puree jam in a food mill or food processor, depending upon what texture you prefer. Makes about 2 cups.

Cran-Apple Chutney

Can be made a week ahead if kept airtight in the refrigerator.

1 tart apple, rinsed, cored and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick (3-inches)
1/2 cup black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon hot chili flakes

Combine ingredients together with 2 cups water in a kettle. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until apple mashes easily when pressed and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. If you wish, discard cinnamon stick and cloves (the longer you leave them, the stronger their flavor will be in the chutney). Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Makes about 2 cups.

Anise Pear-Cranberry Sauce

Can be made 3 days ahead. The pear and licorice flavor add a new taste to the red jewels of the table. If you don't have anise add a small amount of any licorice flavored liqueur, such as Anisette, Pernod, or Ouzo.

2 Bosc pears (about 1 lb. total)
1 orange
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 star anise or 3/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1 cinnamon stick (3-inches)
1/2 cup honey
3 cups (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries

Rinse, peel and core pears; cut into about 1-inch cubes. Grate enough peel from orange to make 1 1/2 teaspoons. Ream juice from orange; measure, and add enough water to make 1/2 cup. Over high heat, stir orange juice mixture, grated peel, sugar, anise and cinnamon stick until sugar is dissolved. Stir in honey and pears and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally until edges of pears are barely tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in cranberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to pop and pears are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool. Pour into bowl and serve cool or cold. Makes 4 cups.

Insalata's Cranberry Relish

As Heidi, who invented this recipe and runs an excellent restaurant called Insalata, where she serves it, says, "this is embarrassingly easy."

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
2 pounds fresh cranberries
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Bring sugars and orange juice to a boil. Add the cranberries, cinnamon stick and salt. Simmer on low heat until cranberries have popped. Add maple syrup. Serve room temperature or cold. Makes about 4 cups.

Cranberry-Pepper Salsa

Tom Cooper of Kennewick, Wash., warmed up his grandmother's no-cook recipe. It will keep up to 2 days.

1 bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
2 tart apples, rinsed, cored and cut into chunks
1 orange, rinsed and cut into small chunks, including peel
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 red and 1 yellow bell peppers, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 fresh jalapeno chilies, rinsed, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt

In food processor pulse cranberries, apples and orange until coarsely pureed. Scrape into a bowl; stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Makes about 6 cups.

Pop those little red balls into some sugar water and enjoy the miracle!


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