Are you tired of your usual cranberry sauce recipe? If so, this cranberry aigre-doux might be the answer to your search for a new version. I make a batch when cranberries are in plentiful in the stores. A few jars in the cupboard are wonderful to use as an unexpected relish at other times of the year. You might remember my recipe for mandarin aigre-doux, this is the same sweet and sour combination but using fresh cranberries.
Cranberry Aigre-Doux (makes 4 pints)
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons red table wine
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of honey
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 vanilla beans, split in half with seeds scraped out
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 star anise
6-7 cups of fresh cranberries (this is just about 2 packages)
In a pot over medium-high heat, bring the wine, honey, vinegar, salt, and vanilla bean pods and seeds to a boil.
Scald 4 pint jars in a large pot of simmering water fitted with a rack. You will use this pot to process them. Right before filling the jars, put the drained jars on the counter and fill each with 1 star anise and 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns. Pack in the cranberries. Meanwhile soak the lids in hot water to soften the rubber seal.
Carefully pour the wine-honey liquid over the cranberries, leaving a 1/2 inch space from the rim of the jar. Check for air pockets by poking with a skewer and add more liquid as needed. Add a piece of each vanilla bean to each jar.
Wipe the rims with a clean towel, seal with the lids and screw on the bands to finger tight.
Carefully transfer the jars to the pot of water, the water should cover them by 1 inch. Bring the water back to a boil and process the jars for 15 minutes, starting your timer when the water comes to a boil. Turn off the heat after 15 minutes but let the jars sit in the water for a few minutes. Remove the jars from the water and let cool completely.
If you have questions about basic canning techniques, please consult the internet or a good canning cookbook.
To make a relish from the cranberry aigre-doux, strain the liquid and set aside the cranberries. In a small pot over medium heat, reduce the liquid by half. Stir the cranberries back into the liquid and serve warm.
I served this relish with my Thanksgiving Turkey Day Warm Up. It was a wonderful counterpoint to the richness of ground turkey and sweet potatoes.
Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet with Cranberry Aigre-Doux
This salad takes full advantage of the wonderful and colorful autumn produce available right now. You combine roast sweet potato and cauliflower, apple, toasted nuts, a grain (your choice), with a lemony dressing full of fresh parsley. Serve it warm, room temperature, or cold. The dish is both vegetarian and vegan, gluten free if you use brown rice as the grain. I served it as a side with a roast chicken, and it would be delicious as a one bowl vegetarian meal, poached eggs optional.
I mixed leftovers into scrambled eggs the next morning in a delicious scramble for brunch.
It’s pretty enough to serve as a side for Thanksgiving. Make it ahead, bring to room temperature and toss with the dressing just before serving. This recipe will serve 4-6 but can be easily doubled or tripled.
1 cup of brown rice, farro, or another whole grain
1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A sprinkle of dried spices, or a few sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano or rosemary
1 large apple
A handful of toasted nuts, pecans or walnuts
1 bunch of parsley, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
1 teaspoon of pure maple syrup or agave
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Rinse your grain of choice (I used farro) and cook with the appropriate amount of water or broth. Refer to the cooking directions on the package as each is different. Once cooked drain, if appropriate, and cool.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the cauliflower and sweet potato on separate large baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and salt. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the pieces to brown the other side and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Spread the nuts out on a small roasting sheet and toast for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn, remove and cool.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake to combine.
Chop the apple (you do not need to peel), and set aside.
When the vegetables and grains are done, combine together with the apple in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing and nuts just before serving. Taste for salt and pepper.