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Author Notes: My mother makes the best Thanksgiving dinner (I know, yours does too) and that includes her cranberry sauce, which she properly molds in empty black bean cans for a decidedly old school look. Her recipe is simple, cranberries, water, sugar, and lemon zest. To say the least, I am intimidated by the whole Thanksgiving cooking feat and with the exception of baking the pies and making side dishes, I have not really assisted my mom in the kitchen for this holdiay. With this contest in my mind (which I have entered to late into) and Thanksgiving creeping up, I wanted to create a cranberry recipe that would complement my family's table but also be a new and refreshing taste. I am inclined to serve this with a dollop of cream fraiche on top or spread on toasted bread with a healthy smear of goat cheese or baked up with goat cheese much like a pizza and served at room temperature. I was also at a loss of what to call this. It is not really a chutney, not a sauce, not a compote, jam seemed to sum it up. —testkitchenette
Makes 2 cups (to serve about 4-5 people)
Preparing the Figs, Dates, and Onions
- 1 cup dried pitted dates
- 1 cup dried figs
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into thin half moons
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup red wine
- Bring water to a boil and remove. from heat. Put the figs and dates into the water and let rest for 20 minutes. In a medium skillet heat olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Stir and cook until softened, add salt. Add wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover partially, and cook onions until caramelized and sweet, adjusting seasoning if necessary. Your onions should be a red wine tinged soft tangled mess when you are done. Set aside.
Finishing the Cranberry Jam
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
- soak water from figs and dates
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- splashes freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a large saucepan, add in soak water from figs and dates along with the cranberries and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and when the cranberries start to pop (about 8 minutes) and mixture bubbles, take off the heat. Strain and reserve almost all of the liquid (some stays with the fruit) and pulse in a food processor until chunky. Pour back into the saucepan and add in the honey and caramelized onions. Adjust for seasoning with salt and honey. You may need to add in a bit of the strained cranberry/fig/date liquid depending on how saucy you like your sauce. I like mine pretty chunky without any extra liquid. Serve at room temperature.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side