November 6, 2013

The Maine Ingredient: A double dose of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving

A fresh, raw relish and a cooked sauce both offer a festive flair to your holiday table.

By Brooke Dojny

I like to have two cranberry sauces on the Thanksgiving dinner table – both a fresh, raw relish and a cooked sauce – so here are two of my tried-and-true favorites. And if you love to bake, do try this pumpkin bread, which, with its addition of a tiny amount of cornmeal, has a uniquely lovely texture and flavor.

RAW CRANBERRY-CLEMENTINE RELISH

This relish, which goes together in about five minutes, has stirred more comment and praise than many a more complicated dish on the feast table. And its agreeably crunchy texture and tart, horseradish-spiked flavor is the perfect addition to the post-prandial turkey sandwich.

Makes about 3 cups.

One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

2 smallish clementines, cut into 1-inch chunks

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup orange marmalade

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries and clementines until they are chopped medium-fine. (Do not over process to a puree.) Transfer to a bowl.

Stir in the sugar, marmalade, and horseradish and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or for up to a week. Serve cool or at room temperature.

CRANBERRY-PEAR SAUCE

The pear adds a bit of different texture to this sauce and the ginger makes it sparkle on the tongue.

Makes about 3 cups.

One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 firm, flavorful pear, such as a Bosc, peeled, cored, and chopped

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine

2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

In a large saucepan or deep skillet, combine the cranberries, pear, sugar, and wine. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the cranberries pop and the sauce is lightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. (Do not cook the mixture until it is dry as it will thicken up considerably as it cools. Add water if necessary.) Stir in the ginger. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Shaker Pumpkin-Walnut Bread

Sister Frances Carr of Maine’s Sabbathday Lake Shaker community published Shaker Your Plate in 1985. It’s a cookbook filled with recipes for simple goodness, which is the Shakers’ motto. This autumnal pumpkin bread – moist and flavorful – is based on a similar recipe by Sister Carr. It’s a wonderful addition to the holiday table or makes for great snacking any time.

Makes 1 loaf.

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon allspice

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar, preferably dark brown

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not sweetened pumpkin pie filling)

½ cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan.

Spread walnuts out into a dry skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until one shade darker, about 4 minutes.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, and water until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk or beat on medium speed until well-blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until the bread shrinks from the side of the pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes; then invert onto a rack and cool completely. (Bread can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen.) Cut into slices to serve.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at: facebook.com/brookedojny

 

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