I like traditional cranberry sauce—I just don’t like it on top of turkey. I feel like it’s oddly sweet and not tart enough, with super gelatinous vibes that don’t quite enhance the taste of turkey the way the condiment should. A perfectly roasted bird requires something with a little acid, more heat, and plenty of pizazz—which is why this Thanksgiving, I’ll be bathing my turkey (dark meat, please!) in a cranberry chimichurri sauce.
Made like traditional chimichurri, this seasonal riff requires no cooking at all and, with the help of a food processor, will come together in just a few minutes. I even prefer to make the sauce a few hours ahead of time to give all the raw ingredients a moment to mellow out ... but mellow this sauce is not!
This fresh-feeling sauce is made with plenty of herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, and oregano), tons of garlic (of course!), a big glug of red wine vinegar, and chopped, fresh cranberries. The herbaceous, slightly fruity sauce is incredibly flavorful and adds a brightness that’s sure to complement a salty, rich pile of turkey. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind if a little chimichurri snuck its way on top of my mashed potatoes or clung to make fork as the last bite of green bean casserole made its way off my plate and into my big, fat gullet. —Grant Melton
Place the cranberries into a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl every few pulses. Using a rubber spatula, remove the cranberries into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the serrano pepper, shallots, garlic, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine with the chopped cranberries. Add the red wine vinegar and let sit for 15 minutes.
In the same food processor (no need to wash it), add the herbs and olive oil. Pulse the herbs with the oil until finely chopped. Add the herbs into the cranberry mixture. Stir to combine, then pour into a serving dish.
Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning Producer of the Rachael Ray Show, food writer and recipe developer. He's a contributor to Food52, NYT Cooking and Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine. He loves cookies, cocktails and kindness.