Traditional cranberry sauce is too sweet for the Vietnamese palate, which explains why I’ve been making and eating the fluorescent-hued condiment solo on every Thanksgiving in recent memory. A few of my cousins request a small serving out of curiosity, while an aunt or two might give it a try in the name of antioxidants, but no one really likes the chunky, fruity stuff but me. And I’m cool with that because I eat leftover cranberry sauce for fun and by the spoonful.
When I saw this recipe for cranberry-apple relish in last week’s New York Times article “Complements for the Chef” by David Tanis, I was immediately intrigued by the list of ingredients. Instead of the usual combination of simple syrup and cranberries, this one called for cider vinegar and apples with ginger, Serrano chili, and cayenne pepper flourishes. While straight up sweetness does not speak to my family, I am hoping that this tangy and spicy number with a hit of jammy-ness might do the trick.
With the assistance of my math whiz Astronomer, I adjusted the proportions from the original recipe to use an entire standard bag of cranberries (12 ounces). The recipe below reflects these changes. Other than that minor tweak and leaving the skins on the apples, this recipe is great as is. The relish’s flavors are fresh yet familiar, while the combination of chilies, ginger, and cayenne packs some real heat.
If I know my family as well as I think I do, it’s quite likely that even with this new recipe, I’ll still be the lone cranberry sauce eater at the table. And I’m cool with that because I eat leftover cranberry sauce for fun and by the spoonful. Happy Thanksgiving!
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 1 1/4 pounds tart, crisp apples cut in 1/2-inch chunks
- 12 ounces cranberries
- 2 1/3 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño or Serrano chili
- Pinch cayenne pepper
Begin by chopping the apples, grating the ginger, and mincing the chili.
Over medium heat, in wide stainless steel skillet, heat sugar, vinegar and salt, stirring to dissolve.