Friday, November 25, 2011

Boozy Cranberry-Pineapple Relish

The cranberry sauce of my childhood most definitely came out of cans. While we sometimes had the jellied kind, the preferred family version involved mixing a can of whole-berry sauce with drained, crushed pineapple.

In the years since, my tastes have grown more sophisticated (or snobbier or particular, depending on your point of view) and I've turned to making my own sauce from fresh cranberries. But there's something to that combination of cranberries and pineapple. So this year for Thanksgiving, with the freedom that comes from not being a host, not being a guest, and having two kids who don't like cranberries -- and therefore don't care what I do with them -- I took to experimenting in the kitchen.

The Programmer and I were happy with the result: a grown-up cranberry sauce that riffs on my childhood memory. I recommend making this at least a day before serving, to give the flavors time to mellow. 

Boozy Cranberry-Pineapple Relish
(original recipe)

12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, sorted, rinsed, and drained
20-ounce can crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark rum

Drain the pineapple well, reserving the juice. Set aside the crushed pineapple.

Measure out 3/4 cup pineapple juice (save the extra for another use) and combine with the cranberries, brown sugar, white sugar, and rum in a smallish saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes; the cranberries will pop and break down, the liquid will get syrupy, and your kitchen will likely smell like a cocktail. Remove the relish from the heat and transfer to a bowl or storage container to cool at room temperature. The relish will thicken as it cools.

When the relish has cooled, mix in 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the reserved crushed pineapple. Refrigerate the relish several hours to several days before serving.

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