it’s tricky to address cranberry sauce from a local perspective, because while cranberries are native to north america, they tend to be grown in northern states above the sunbelt. you won’t find them in farmer’s markets around los angeles, and most other fall berries have just wrapped up their seasons. so what’s a person to do about a tart berry sauce for thanksgiving?
while you might not be able to use fresh berries on a seasonal diet, lots of local producers of cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and some blueberries also make dried berries, which are perfect to simmer with seasoning and spices for a comparable compote to cranberry sauce. adding the fact that pomegranates are currently in season, there are some great, deeply red antioxidant flavors to use here.
cherry and citrus relish
1 vidalia onion or red onion, chopped
1 tb canola oil
juice & minced zest of 2 medium oranges
1⁄2 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp cardamom
1⁄2 tsp allspice
1 tb sugar or honey
2 cups dried cherries
1⁄2 cup pine nuts
sauté onion over medium heat in 1 tb canola oil until translucent, 5 minutes. add orange & pomegranate juices, water and wine, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and sugar. bring to a boil, add cherries, reduce to medium heat and simmer covered 20 minutes. check liquid levels periodically and add water as needed.
remove from heat and toss with orange zest and pine nuts. serve hot or chilled.
– substitute a mix of dried berries to your liking
– substitute dried blueberries, or add in chopped dried apricots & plums
– process or chop dried berries before cooking for a more uniform consistency
– use a mix of dried, toasted & chopped nuts instead of just pine nuts