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For the last 104 Thanksgivings, I’ve broadcast my late mother-in-law – Mama Stamberg’s — recipe for cranberry relish. This year is no exception, but there is a twist.
While I love Mama Stamberg’s relish, this is not my favorite cranberry side dish. That honor belongs to actor, chef and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey and her cranberry chutney. It’s a sweet/sour mix of canned cranberries with berries, garlic, apple cider and much more. Jaffrey told me her creation was a total accident.
“I was looking for a can of tomatoes – and by mistake I opened a can of cranberries,” Jaffrey recalled. “And I said, ‘What the heck am I going to do with cranberries now?’ “
She decided to see what would happen if she made her tomato chutney into a cranberry chutney — “and I tried it out and it was perfect!”
We hope it’s a happy accident for you, too. Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. You can find both recipes below.
Madhur Jaffrey’s Cranberry Chutney
1-inch piece fresh ginger
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1-pound can cranberry sauce with berries
1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
ground black pepper
Cut ginger into paper-thin slices, stack them together and cut into really thin slivers. Combine ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small pot, and simmer on medium flame about 15 minutes or until there are about four tablespoons of liquid left. Add can of cranberry sauce, salt and pepper. Mix and bring to a simmer. Simmer on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. Cool, store and refrigerate.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish
2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar (“red is a bit milder than white”)
As Susan Stamberg learned long after its radio debut, her mother-in-law got the recipe from a 1959 New York Times clipping of Craig Claiborne’s recipe for cranberry relish. In 1993, when she called to apologize for not crediting him, Claiborne said: “Susan, I am simply delighted. We have gotten more mileage, you and I, out of that recipe than almost anything I’ve printed.”
Grind the raw berries and onion together.
Add everything else and mix.
Put in a plastic container and freeze.
Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. (It should still have some little icy slivers left.)
The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. (OK, Pepto Bismol pink, according to some mis-guided listeners.) It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. Its also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.
Makes 1 and 1/2 pints.