Thanksgiving looms ahead of us and the pressure is on. However, I find the planning of the meal can be rather mundane. As much as I am wooed by the new recipes tempting me from food magazines this time of year, the truth is that most families desire the same recipes they remember year after year. Deviate from the family menu at your own risk.
Cranberries can present your one moment to make your mark. While it’s tough to compete with the glory of a great big bird or Grandmother’s famous stuffing, I think this Cranberry-Orange Chutney with Pears, Walnuts and Shredded Beets is a crowd pleaser and deserving of a chance to establish a new family tradition.
While beets may not be a traditional element in cranberry sauces and chutneys, I would argue perhaps they should be. It’s the balance of different textures that makes this Cranberry-Orange Chutney something special. Sweet, earthy notes of fresh autumn beets blend beautifully with the sharp sour hit from the cranberries. Pears (or apples, if you prefer), and walnuts bring hardier textures to the mix. A final touch of orange zest and a dash of maple syrup are all that are needed to pull it all together.
We will be serving this chutney as a condiment to accompany turkey on Thanksgiving day. However, it is the following day when this Cranberry-Orange Chutney will really pull its weight. We will be plunking our turkey slices onto sliced sourdough and layering with a slathering of chutney and a few thick slices of gryuere cheese to grill on a hot griddle until the cheese melts. The salty cheese cut by the sweet and slightly bitter chutney will bring out the best in the Thanksgiving turkey, even the next day.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for family and their recipes. This Cranberry-Orange Chutney with Pears, Walnuts and Shredded Beets will now be a part of our family tradition, and hopefully a part of your family tradition, too. From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
- 2 red beets, peeled and shredded in a food processor using the shredder blade
- 3 cups (or 10 oz) cranberries, rinsed and drained
- 2 Asian pears (or apples), peeled and diced*
- 1 orange, zest only**
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Place the cranberries, beets, pears, zest and maple syrup into a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir frequently until the cranberries "pop" and the textures meld, about 10-12 minutes.
- Set aside to cool and thicken. Add walnuts, if using.
- This can be served immediately or prepared at least 2-3 days in advance. I add the walnuts just before serving.
**I use this to zest a orange for this dish and any other where I want pretty long trills.