I have been known to eat this with a spoon, straight out of the fridge. But of course, this cranberry relish is perfectly at home on a Thanksgiving or Christmas table. It's a fresh, bright, and subtly herbal take on cranberry sauce that is meant to be more reminiscent of a cocktail than canned jelly.
This recipe is loosely adapted from the cranberry portion of the Cranberry Apple Salad in the Junior League of Denver's Créme de Colorado Cookbook -- a long-time favorite recipe that I've been making for the holidays since I was a kid. It opened my mind to more savory approaches to cranberries.
This recipe is an updated version of an earlier iteration I wrote about here: https://medium.com/@JoniGoldbach/a-fresh-approach-to-cranberries-for-the-holidays-735041d7f4c1
A couple of notes on rosemary: If you like the flavor of rosemary, but are less than thrilled by the pine tree sensation of chewing rosemary needles, consider breaking out a mortar and pestle for this recipe. I found that grinding dried rosemary down to a powder and mixing it into the relish gives the impression of rosemary without the prickly texture.
As another option, skip the dried rosemary and store the relish with a fresh sprig of rosemary on top to help impart that hint of flavor. —Joni Goldbach
What You'll Need
fresh cranberries (1 bag)
dried rosemary (optional)
date syrup (or substitute with 8 dates, pitted and chopped)
orange bitters (such as Regans' Orange Bitters No.6)
fresh rosemary (optional)
Rinse cranberries and pick out the ones that have gone soft. Toss the remaining crisp cranberries in a food processor or blender.
As an optional step, measure the dried rosemary into a mortar and pestle. Grind it down to a fragrant, green dust for your relish to avoid the sensation of chewing on pine needles.
Sprinkle the date syrup, orange bitters, and dried rosemary over the cranberries. Pulse until the cranberries are finely chopped.
Scoop it out into a pretty bowl and top with a fresh sprig of rosemary that you've rubbed between your fingers to release the fragrance. (The lingering scent of rosemary on your hands is an added benefit.)
You can serve your cranberry relish right away or leave it in the fridge for up to several days. The flavors meld together and develop with time.