Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Who Likes Cranberries Ginger Chutney?



On the second week of Christmas, Meeta made for me Cranberry Ginger Chutney and Porcini Cream Soup.

OK so there are many of you who love cranberries. Well this is just perfect for you.

Another week down and a little less than three weeks to go. Today I am bringing something that will take you to heaven and back. A chutney that will complement your entrée meat dish during the festive season, leaving your guests in heaven 17.

I am not exaggerating.

I made this delicate but taste intensive Cranberry Ginger Chutney to serve with the Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago. For my Thanksgiving dinner I had selected the lovely and elegant menu as suggested by the Bon Appetit menu from Eicurious.com. Each of the suggested dishes were absolutely perfect and comes with my very high recommendation. So, if you are still menu planning for your Christmas dinner you might want to consider this menu idea.

However, the one dish that really made the entire evening, really had to be the Cranberry Ginger Chutney. I wish I was able to reach out into my notebook and give you all a spoonful to taste and a nosefull to capture the wonderful aromas. As I can't I will try to describe the tastes for you. It is sweet but not the sticky sweet type, tart but not acidic and spicy but not hot. All the flavors are strong but not overpowering in any way and blend together with such perfection that even the most hesitant person will use a tablespoon for second helpings instead of the teaspoon!

With the turkey roulade I made, it was incredibly good. Complemented the herby mushroomy flavors of the stuffing with perfection. I am certain that this chutney would fit very well to venison as well as poultry and other meat dishes. The best discovery however, I made was the day after the dinner. I had run out of preserve for my croissant for breakfast. So, as I still had plenty of the the chutney leftover I dipped the croissant into it. DIIINNNG! What an explosion! This makes a wonderful fruity breakfast spread too.


Cranberries
Cranberries are known as the cousins of the blueberry. Growing wild they are found on low, creeping shrubs. However, when cultivated they are grown on low trailing vines in large sandy bogs. They are mostly cultivated in North America and southern Canada.

Fresh cranberries contain the highest levels of beneficial nutrients and are known to be little phytochemical powerhouses packed with five times the antioxidant content of broccoli. They are packed with antioxidants and health promoting properties. As a matter of fact when compared to 19 other common fruits, cranberries were found to contain the highest level of antioxidant phenols.

Selecting and Storing
Cranberries are a fruit with a short season as they are harvested between September and October. So, they are available in the markets from October to December. Just in time to enjoy them in various creations for the festive season.
While choosing cranberries, go for plump and fresh ones that are deep red in color firm to the touch. Actually the deeper the red color the higher the concentration in beneficial anthocyanin compounds.

Firmness indicates the quality of the fruit. Did you know that during harvesting there is an amazing way to sort the better quality from the lesser quality fruit? By bouncing the berries against slanted boards, those that bounce over these boards are the better quality ones and those that don't collect in the reject pile!

Fresh cranberries can be stored in the fridge for many months. Sort out all the shriveled, soft and discolored berries before you store them. Once frozen the cranberries can be kept for several years. Spread the fresh berries on a cookie sheet and place these in the freezer for a few hours. When fully frozen simply transfer them into a freezer bag. Once thawed use them immediately.


Music While Cooking:

All Saints - Rock Steady - They are back and with a smashing hit. New on my iPod.
Album: Studio 1


Music and Artwork courtesy iTunes





Ingredients:
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Menu Planner

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar - I used brown sugar
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 large pear - peeled, halved, cored, cut into cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper






Method:
In a large saucepan stir the sugar, apple juice and vinegar over a medium heat, until the sugar dissolves.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reducing the heat simmer until the mixture thickens. This takes about 20 minutes.

Season the chutney with salt and pepper. Cool at room temperature then transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge.

This chutney can be made 3 days ahead of time and stored in the fridge.


Verdict:

As I mentioned above this was the star of the evening. It was funny how a few of my guests looked a bit alarmed when I said that this is a cranberry ginger chutney. I guess it was hard for them to believe that such a combination could actually work. It was interesting to watch them first very carefully try a very tiny portion of it and as the enlightenment spread across their face, I had to smile when they scooped up large portions.
Yes, it is really an ecstatic combination on your tongue. Even though there are several flavors in this chutney it all comes together into a very elegant aromatic composition.
The best thing is that is is so versatile. Serve it with your main course on the evening before and then dish it up as a fruity spread for a brunch the next day. Brilliant!




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18 comments :

  1. Love Cranberries! I will be back.

    A VERY special post from me tomorrow,check my blog when you can:))

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  2. Do I love cranberries? My last three posts have been on cranberries. Can't wait to see yours!!!

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  3. Looking forward to this one Meeta, I am more than sure that cranberry pulp and spice cake don't go together in my kitchen !! So I am going to make them separately now :-) I was going to try the upside-down cake but you put in this post now !!!

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  4. WOW..that sounds like a very interesting combo, Meeta. Will surely try it out sometime, more than an accompaniment to the main course I would love to have it as a breakfast spread :-)

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  5. Holy cow does that sound wonderful, sweetie!! I'm so adding this recipe to my MUST MAKES! hehe I love that picture of the croissant & chutney (at least I think that is a croissant?) - just gorgeous!

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  6. This truly sounds like the best sauce ever. I will have to cook a turkey in January so I can try it!

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  7. I can almost taste it as you explain ;P Sounds like a good combo of things...... Any idea if I can use the dried ones???? Haven't seen the fresh ones here in singapore, but I get the dried ones by tons!!!!!

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  8. Oh, yes I do believe this will be as good as you say! What would there not be to like with cranberries and pears.

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  9. Mmmmmm Meeta, my mouth is watering. Great photos!!

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  10. Beautiful pictures! I received some very tasty cranberry chutney from Kayak Soup in the last Blogging By Mail.

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  11. Awesome! Thanks for making this for us! By the way, I love your holiday banner.

    Paz (who plans on checking out All Saints)

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  12. I figured you all are the Cranberry type of people.

    Tanna I know I saw those and was wondering what you would think.
    Priya After swapping those mails with you you can imagine that I was thinking about you when I wrote this one up. It tastes great as a breakfast spread.
    Lisa It is a croissant. You really do have to try this one out. let me know what you think!
    Sara We really enjoyed it. But I am sure it will go with any kind of meat - not just turkey.
    Rooma No, I do not think using dried cranberries would work here. While cooking you need the pulp and the juices to come out and combine with the rest. Dried just do not have that consistency. Is there anyway you can get them from an online supplier?
    Pam, Sumi Thank you!
    Bri Thank you glad you liked the pics. Try this one too. I am sure you will like it.
    Paz It is always my pleasure. Glad you like the banner and the new song from All Saints is a fantastic one. You have to get it on that hot red iPod of yours ;-)

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  13. My mouth waters and it is only 9 am.
    Actually you can get cranberries in the Netherlands, they grow them in Terschelling, one of the islands in the Waddenzee. Apparently this ship with cranberries on board stranded there in the 19th century and ever since you can get them, fresh, frozen, in pies, jams ......mmmm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terschelling

    PS I am back, jetlagged, and did not see anything in Jakarta other than the hotel. So no colourful pictures of food markets.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta