We’ve been busy getting ready for Thanksgiving here at Nana and BeeBop’s house. We’re having 10 for dinner this year and I’m so excited to see each and every one of them. Today has been house cleaning, garage cleaning and leaf blowing day. Along with final menu planning.
One of the things I like most about Thanksgiving are all the little “extras” that make it special. Special toppings for the pies, garnishes for the platters and these two little relishes to go along with the turkey.
One is the traditional cranberry and orange relish and the other is a little different. It uses kumquats and dried cherries with anise seed and other goodies to make an excellent chutney to adorn your table. Kumquats will always seem a little exotic to me. Not quite an orange nor a tangerine. Not a lemon either. I remember having them in our house around Christmas when I was growing up and we usually ate them out of hand, skin and all. The Kumquat Growers Association calls them “nature’s sweet-tart.” Pretty apt description.
This kumquat and dried cherry chutney is perfect for a southern Thanksgiving menu. Southerners have a long history with chutneys and relishes. Probably because of the old spice trade with the Charleston and Savannah ports. Granted, this chutney lacks some of the classic ingredients. It’s sweet, citrusy and the background note of licorice from the anise seed is just perfect. I think you’ll really like this one!
Kumquat and Dried Cherry Chutney
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. anise seed
1 pint kumquats, sliced and de-seeded
1 cup plus 2 tblsp sugar
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 cup dried cherries
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Beautiful, fresh kumquats. Just waiting to be made into a delicious chutney.
Prepare the kumquats by giving them a rinse and then slicing them into disks. Remove the tiny seeds with the tip of a knife. Granted, this is a bit tedious, but just take your time and you’ll have it finished before you know it.
In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast mustard seeds and anise seed. Gently shake the pan back and forth until seeds are aromatic and lightly toasted, about 1-2 minutes.
Transfer to a heavy, small saucepan with remaining ingredients – sliced kumquats, sugar, orange juice, dried cherries, ginger, black pepper and cinnamon.
Bring to a boil stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chutney thickens and the kumquats become translucent, about 20-25 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool before serving. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.
— Recipe adapted from Kumquat Growers Association
Now for the more traditional cranberry relish. I grew up like most of you eating the jellied cranberry sauce from a can. But the first time I ever tasted a whole cranberry sauce I left the jellied stuff and never went back. For my cranberry sauce, I add a little cinnamon and cloves while it simmers. Gives it just a little extra flavor.
12 oz. fresh cranberries
Zest of one orange
Fresh juice from one orange, plus enough additional juice to make 1 cup
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
Zest and juice one orange. To the juice from the orange add enough additional juice to make one full cup. Place cranberries, orange zest and juice, cinnamon stick, cloves and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cranberries are softened and the mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove cinnamon stick (and the cloves if you can find them) before serving. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries
- Zest of one orange
- Fresh juice from one orange, plus enough additional juice to make 1 cup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- Zest and juice one orange. To the juice from the orange add enough additional juice to make one full cup.
- Place cranberries, orange zest and juice, sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cranberries are softened and the mixture thickens.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
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