Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cranberries & Apples- A Perfect Match

I can never get over the joys of fall produce; I nearly yelped when fresh cranberries lined the display of my local grocery.  There is only one way to celebrate the arrival of cranberries: my Cranberry-Apple Chutney!  Now it's not technically a chutney in the traditional sense, where vegetables are cooked down with spices, but it has the same consistency and would not pass as a sauce or jam.  That's why I call it a chutney- don't hate ;)

There is so much to adore about this sumptuous side:

  • The color is vibrant and immediately jazzes up every plate. 
  • The fragrance is to die for.
  • It's the perfect compliment to meats and veggies that need a little tang.
  • What better way to get loads of fiber and antioxidants?
As always, this chutney is an extremely easy fix.  It takes at most about 30 minutes from start to finish, and the ingredients are affordable.  A little also goes a long way.

The flavor is adjustable depending upon what your tastes are.  I like this quite tart, quite.  My recipe is based on those specific tastes.  Please feel free to use more sugar to your tastes.  The best way to do that is to add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach a preferred flavor.  Same if you're a spice-a-holic:  feel free to up the spices a teaspoon at a time.  This recipe is mild-medium spiced.  The cranberry has an overpowering flavor, so you may decide you need more spice for them to shine through.

Cranberry-Apple Chutney

2 small gala apples, peeled and diced or rough chopped
12 oz cranberries, rinsed and dried
6 tbs desired sugar (I prefer Coconut Sugar, always try to use Fair Trade!)
1 tbs Earth Balance Soy-Free or comparable fat (butter, margarine etc...)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp cinnamon

Melt the Earth Balance (or fat) low heat in a medium saucepan.
Add apple, and stir to coat, sauteing until the apples become slightly tender but not browned.
Add cranberries and all spices stirring to combine.

Raise to medium-high heat, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
Add sugar 1 tbs at a time, while stirring.
The cranberries will begin to break down due to the heat.  Give the pot a stir, wait about 30 seconds, and then re-stir, repeating so that the cranberries will break down evenly.
When all the cranberries are broken down and the mixture looks like this:

Taste the mixture.  Too tart?  Add more sugar one tbs at a time.  Not spiced enough?  Add more spices one tsp at a time.  Stir constantly.
When desired flavor is reached, remove mixture from stove and transfer to serving dish.  I like to let the dish cool to room temperature.  Feel free to serve hot or chill for a colder dish.

Ta-da, you're done!  Now didn't I tell you that was easy?

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