Make Room on Your Thanksgiving Table for Spicy Raspberry Relish

November  2, 2017

Did you know that October through November is peak raspberry season? That makes sweet-tart raspberries perfect for adding color and punch to fall dishes. This Thanksgiving, we've partnered with Driscoll's to brighten up the traditional holiday table.

If you’re heading to a family gathering for the holidays, chances are you know what's ahead on the menu. And though we can all conjure nostalgia for the classics (especially if done well with quality ingredients), there's something exciting about introducing a little unexpected flavor with additional condiments at the Thanksgiving table.

I sing many praises for a good relish, as it is a workhorse of flavor at any meal without trading in extra time to pull it together. The accessible ingredients assemble in a quick sauce that benefits from being made in advance so its flavors can marry and mellow and it can thicken as it cools. It can also be assembled in under 20 minutes with minimal kitchen equipment...a perfect recipe if you've procrastinated for the potluck! Relish is an excellent candidate for batch cooking, as it freezes well in an airtight container for up to six months.

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Fresh raspberries, with their burst of snackable freshness, do a fiery dance with a roasted habanero pepper in this warmly spiced, jeweled relish. Your creative contribution to the holiday feast will make wiggly canned cranberry sauce wish it could take a swing at a piñata! Just make sure to have some extra raspberries on hand to nibble while you’re stirring the pot.

A single habanero is used for its complexity accented by a bold and spicy nose tingle. But if you are sensitive, you may choose a different pepper—possibly a more mellow jalapeño. If you have access to fresh Peruvian aji amarillo peppers that are becoming a popular niche choice and climate-adaptable market favorite, you’ll be in for a more well-behaved pepper with a flavor profile of passion fruit and mango. The juicy sweetness of fresh raspberries effortlessly equalizes tart and tannic cranberries, and you can use a handful of aji amarillos or a single habanero—just make sure not to confuse the two, or warn ole Uncle Bob or your boss if you do!

Celebratory roast meats are friendly to stewed fruits and beg for a little pepper heat—especially during the darker, cooler months of the year when we descend into a palate of starchy root vegetables and bitter brassicas for our greens. Fruits such as ruby-colored raspberries and cranberries offer contrast, visual stimulation, and acidity, all of which help to cut through fatty meats such as pork or duck and enliven leaner poultry such as turkey. If you’re serving this relish with ham instead, consider stirring in a few tablespoons of grainy mustard for an impromptu mostarda.

And it's equally good the day (and days) after the holiday. Use leftover relish spooned onto your favorite grilled cheese, or add it to a lunchtime turkey sandwich. In a rush out the door on the first day back from holiday travel? Stir a heaping spoonful into your morning yogurt bowl and scatter some granola for a little crunch, and a simple way to make the holidays last a little longer.

Raspberries are at peak freshness from October through November, so we've partnered with Driscoll's to bring you creative ways to brighten up the holiday table with sweet-tart raspberries this Thanksgiving.

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Sarah Owens

Written by: Sarah Owens

Sarah Owens is a New York City based cookbook author, baker, horticulturist, and instructor. She was awarded a James Beard for her first book Sourdough and released her second in August 2017 titled Toast & Jam with Roost Books. Sarah curates private dining events, cooks for public pop-up dinners, and teaches baking and preservation gobally. Her subscription and wholesale bakery is located seaside in Rockaway Beach where she also teaches the alchemy and digestive benefits of natural leavening.

1 Comment

Sarah H. November 2, 2017
We moved into a house this summer with lots of raspberry bushes. I always thought of raspberries as summer fruit, but have been pleasantly surprised by the surplus of berries I keep getting this fall - this sounds like the perfect way to use my unexpected haul!