Gingered Cranberry Fig Chutney

By • November 3, 2009 • 56 Comments

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Author Notes: I've never been much of a fan of straight-up cranberry sauce, in fact, the jellied kind makes me want to gag. I much prefer a condiment like this, that is more than just cranberries and a lot of sugar. This chutney gets it's sweetness not just from sugar, but from raisins, some OJ and dried black mission figs. The cider vinegar and lemon juice lend a sparkling acid note, and the ginger and red pepper flakes bring heat. I finished it with some chopped, toasted hazelnuts to add an earthy crunch, and some freshly minced thyme for a hint of herbal complexity. I love the way it turned out, I'll definitely reserve a spot for it on my Thanksgiving table. Oui, Chef

Food52 Review: This chutney is perfect for those looking for something zippy and less sweet than a typical cranberry sauce. It combines the elements of a great chutney (mustard seeds, spices, vinegar, sugar) with other carefully selected ingredients (among them cranberries, dried figs, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and toasted hazelnuts); the result is a sophisticated, jewel-toned "cranberry sauce" with just the right ratio of sour to sweet that's just as well-suited to roast pork or beef as it is to Thanksgiving turkey. Be careful not to cook the chutney for too long -- you want it luscious and thick, not sticky. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6-8

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, skinless, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 8 dried black mission figs, cut into eighths
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
  1. Add all the ingredients, with the exception of the chopped hazelnuts and fresh thyme, to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to bring the mix to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the chutney thickens some. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts and fresh thyme and let cool slightly before serving.
Jump to Comments (56)

Tags: cranberry sauce, Holidays, sweet

Comments (56) Questions (2)

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about 2 hours ago Andrea Hanna

Thank you! This was such a hit, I adjusted the heat a touch to accommodate my 94 year old grandma but the flavored were amazing I got comment after comment!! This will now be my staple.

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2 days ago Adelucchi

Made this today. Thanks for the recipe. Can't wait to use this on left over turkey sandwiches.

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11 months ago June

Thank you for sharing. I adapted this recipe using Sorrel which is sometimes called Hibiscus flowers and other Caribbean fruit in season and it was a major hit!

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about 1 year ago FabricPusher

This is delicious, I just made it for the second Thanksgiving in a row. While I do love it, this amount of ginger is overpowering to me. I cut it in half this year and it still seems like a lot. Still delicious though!

Steve_dunn02

12 months ago Oui, Chef

So glad you like it and have tailored it to your own tastes.

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about 1 year ago EmilyC

Made this last night and it's fantastic! I substituted dried Turkish apricots since the figs in my pantry were a little past their prime, and Aleppo for the red pepper flakes. Can't wait to have it with turkey!

Steve_dunn02

12 months ago Oui, Chef

YUM....love the idea of the apricots.

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about 1 year ago Rupal P

Planning to make this today but with certain substitutions. Because my pantry is much more filled with Indian ingredients (and we will be an Indian family at the table) I wonder if there is any objection to using some dried red chilis instead of the chili flakes and black mustard seed (slightly lower quantity) rather than the yellow mustard seed. My local store didn't have black mission figs but the dried turkish figs smelled good so I bought them.

Steve_dunn02

about 1 year ago Oui, Chef

Your substitutions sound pretty wonderful f me, I'm sure it will turn out terrific! Happy Thanksgiving!

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about 2 years ago Laura Abbasi

Made this for Thanksgiving and both my husband and I agree that it was the most delicious thing on the table! Made exactly as is and will certainly make this a holiday tradition in our house!

Steve_dunn02

about 2 years ago Oui, Chef

I love being a part of new holiday traditions, thanks!

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about 2 years ago madhatrk

This recipe will make its 3rd year return on our table. Although it was already in the plan, it was specifically requested by 2 return guests! I make it a few days ahead to let the flavors blend. It's so so good! Also really tasty on your day after left overs sandwich!

Steve_dunn02

about 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Terrific...so glad you enjoy it!

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about 2 years ago broccolirose

Natalie is a recipe tester for Food52.

I got a head start on Thanksgiving prep and this was the first thing I made! I love this alternative to traditional cranberry sauce.

Steve_dunn02

about 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Funny, I just made mine for Thanksgiving last night too. It gets better as it sits for a few days before the feast. So glad you like it!

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about 3 years ago durun99

I have been making the dried cherry chutney from The New Basics Cookbook every year at Thanksgiving for years. Usually I try out one new chutney as well, but nothing ever fares as well with my family. This year, I tried this cranberry-fig chutney and it was the first time just as many people liked the new chutney as much as the dried cherry. I will definitely make this again, it is really outstanding.

Steve_dunn02

about 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, I'm really glad you enjoyed it!

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about 3 years ago jlsm

I made this last year and again last week. Hands down the best cranberry sauce I have ever made. Last year I used regular figs and liked them better than the black mission I used this year.

Steve_dunn02

about 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Awesome! I've used both black mission and calmyrna figs and liked them both, certainly you can use whatever you prefer.

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about 3 years ago jlsm

I made this last year and again last week. Hands down the best cranberry sauce I have ever made. Last year I used regular figs and liked them better than the black mission I used this year.

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about 3 years ago WeeklyGreens

Loved this! Perfect balance of sweet and tart. I used toasted walnuts instead of hazelnuts. Much to my chagrin, there were no leftovers!

Steve_dunn02

about 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Glad you like it. I always make a double batch so that I can have enough left-over for a few days' worth of hot turkey sandwiches.

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about 3 years ago kitchen-55

Oops, I was reading the comments backwards. Sorry for the mistake! Last comment was more recent than a year ago, I am silly.

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about 3 years ago kitchen-55

I see the last comment was about a year ago, has anyone successfully canned this? I saw there was interest in preserving it- can anyone follow up? Also, if I made this to can or freeze, would it be a good option to leave out the nuts until a little before serving, or do they really need to stay together for the flavors to develop?

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about 3 years ago sarah613

How long does it last in the fridge if it is just spooned into a boiled glass jar (and not "canned")...and can I freeze it? If so, how long would it last in the freezer? Thanks!

Steve_dunn02

about 3 years ago Oui, Chef

It should last 2 weeks or so in the fridge, and yes, it is freezable. In fact, I pulled some from my fridge not long ago, and it was great. The hazelnuts lose a bit of their crunch, and the thyme it's freshness, but it's still tasty. Hope you like it! - S

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almost 4 years ago mnr_t

Mmm, love the idea of hazelnuts! I've made Laurie Colwin's lemon chutney (with cranberry variations) for years -- and her suggestion of letting chutney ripen for 6 mos is dead-on with your observations! This will definitely enhance weekend plans! Thanks!!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I made this a week ago Sunday, in preparation for T-Day. It improves significantly with time (as every good condiment does). I made three different T-Day chutneys/relishes from food-52, and this was not my favorite, right out of the pan or even four days later. But I must say, it's excellent today. If I were to make it again, I'd give it at least a week to let the flavors settle in. ;o)

Steve_dunn02

almost 4 years ago Oui, Chef

AntoniaJames, I'm so glad you wrote in with this observation, because I couldn't agree with you more. I made this year's batch on the day before Thanksgiving and thought it was "good" on the big day, but not as good as I remember it from last year. I had some again last night with what was our final left-over meal, and thought....damn this is great! I wonder if it has to do with the nuts and thyme infusing their flavors over the course of the week? Whatever it is, if I make it again next year, I'll definitely make it a week before Thanksgiving.....thanks for the great tip. - S

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about 4 years ago FrozenFoodie

This is fabulous! I had to make my husband stop 'tasting' it so there would be some left for tomorrow.

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks! You might have to make a double batch next time, one for your taster, and one for the table. - S

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about 4 years ago CASJ

I have this cooling on my counter right now. It may not make it to the table on Thursday, it is SO GOOD. Wow.

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, CASJ. Glad you like it! - S

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about 4 years ago likestocooklovestoeat

This was so good it's making a return appearance on our Thanksgiving table this year - thank you for a great recipe!

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

It's nice to be a part of your Thanksgiving tradition! - S

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about 4 years ago iGreen

I canned this recipe today with great success! Doubled, this recipe yields 8 half-pint jars. What a delicious flavor combination!

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

This year I canned green tomato chutney for holiday gifts, next year I think I'll follow your lead and make this one. Glad you like it! - S

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almost 5 years ago Diana

A friend brought this to a "pot luck" before Christmas and it was just delicious. It ended up being next to the Brie and what a wonderful combination. The flavor is so bold ... can't wait to make it myself!

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about 5 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Oui Chef, I just made this chutney for our Thanksgiving table. It's delicious and absolutely beautiful, too. I packed it in an antique Mason jar to serve. And that got me thinking... I believe the ratios are correct for canning. It would make a great Christmas gift.

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over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Hi, MrsW! I agree that this would be a lovely Christmas gift. I'm wondering what source of information your rely on for determining whether the ratios are correct for canning something like this. I have so many ideas this spring (now summer) for things I'd like to try . . . like this . . . that could be processed and stored, to enjoy in the winter time. Thank you! ;o)

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over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

In the case of this chutney, I eyeballed the recipe and can see it's about the same ratio of fruit to sugar and vinegar as other chutneys I've canned safely. Those are really the three elements that need to be considered as spices don't enter into the equation. Your local extension service will always review a recipe to determine if it safe to preserve.

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over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wow, that's good know, about the extension services. Thank you so much. I've done the same, in the past (looking at recipes with the same fruit, and using vinegar and sugar equivalents), but am never sure, really, if I'm right. Do you know if vinegar and lemon or lime juice are equivalent for this purpose? Thanks again. ;o)

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over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Vinegar will have a consistent acidity (5%, generally) so is more consistent than lemon or lime juice, so I never "count" them in the ratio.

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about 5 years ago Garret

It's certainly very visually appealing. I love the idea of having a flavorful but not overly sweet chutney to accompany our Turkey Day feast. I am going to try it for sure, and am looking forward to our guests feedback. Looks awesome, Oui Chef!

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about 5 years ago Marla

I would be very curious to try this cranberry sauce. It sounds very complex and interesting. The toasted hazelnuts are nice addition.

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about 5 years ago biceinparadise

YES! A bold thrill ride of flavors, sure to be a classic.

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about 5 years ago Heidi RP

Sounds fantastic I love cranberries!

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about 5 years ago melissav

Sounds like a delicious and interesting addition to the Thanksgiving table.

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about 5 years ago Maria Teresa Jorge

Fabulous recipe, brilliant combination of flavours and it looks absolutely beautiful. Well done you. Can this chutney be kept? How long will it keep and do I need to refrigerate it? Thanks for answering.

Steve_dunn02

about 5 years ago Oui, Chef

Thank you, Maria. The cooked sugar and vinegar should allow you to keep this refrigerated for a couple of weeks at least. I would recommend letting it come to room temperature before serving it to allow the flavors to re-awaken. I haven't tried to preserve this chutney yet, but think I will the next time I make it. When I do, I'll let you know how it survives the canning process. I do expect that the nuts will lose their crunch after some amount of time, but aside from that, it should keep well.

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about 5 years ago Food Blogga

What a fantastic medley of flavors you have combined here! I especially love the figs and hazelnuts.

Steve_dunn02

about 5 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, all. The figs do add a nice textural contrast, but for me, it is the heat and spice from the ginger, red pepper, and mustard seeds that make this dish. I do hope you try it!

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about 5 years ago mariaraynal

Fascinating combination of ingredients! I was just thinking that figs would be good in cranberry sauce, good to see someone else has the same thought.

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about 5 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

The addition of figs is a great idea!

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about 5 years ago WinnieAb

yum...sounds unbelievable delicious

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about 5 years ago TasteFood

This sounds like a meal in itself, with all the best flavor combinations. I will certainly try this and look forward to the fireworks!