10 Fresh Cranberry Recipes That Aren't Sauce!
Cranberries are synonymous with Thanksgiving. Dreaming up ways to show off these native North American fruits is one of the pleasures of planning that festive meal. Because of their staggered harvest (with crops ripening across the country and on opposite coasts at different times), fresh cranberries are in season from early fall and available through late winter, thanks to their excellent shelf life.
Look for bright-colored, firm cranberries in the produce section. Avoid bags that have brown or shriveled berries at the bottom. Store in the original packaging for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, or up to one year in the freezer. To prep, rinse and discard any discolored or soft berries; if frozen, there's no need to thaw before use.
Cranberries are tart and complex, beautifully suited to every aspect of any cold-season meal, and versatile enough to deserve more than that once-off annual and obligatory seat at our holiday tables. Cranberries have the personality to define and carry off every course from bright cocktails through refreshing appetizers and salads, savory entrées and sweet desserts.
The puckering tannins and tartness of cranberries are a boon to mixologists and cooks, who can use the fruit to add sourness and balance where they are needed. The relatively dry nature of the acidic berries also turns them into sponges for absorbing sweetness without becoming cloying. The crimson berries are as beautifully suited to long, slow braises, as they are to simple skillet-bakes and luscious French toast.
And they make that iconic scarlet sauce. But classic cranberry sauces and relishes are not only an essential side on the Thanksgiving table: They are powerhouses of flavor in a pantry's arsenal. Give them starring roles on cheese boards, in sandwiches, and in the pan juices of your favorite roast or quick sauté.
Read on for our round up of cranberry recipes.
Cranberry Cider Punch
A simple winter riff on clafoutis, a French dessert most often made with cherries in the summer. Here, the creamy custard is gorgeous with the bright contrast of refreshing cranberries.
Chicken with Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Avocado Salsa
In this brilliantly simple reimagining of classic salsa, cranberries boost the sour volume. The contrast between creamily green avocado and the bright fruit is arrestingly pretty.
An easy cranberry cobbler baked in a cast iron skillet is rustic and delicious. Even better, it takes just minutes to assemble.
Braised Brisket with Cranberries
Cranberry Dressing for Red Cabbage Slaw
This vivid dressing is made mouthwatering by the combination of fresh cranberries and smoky maple syrup. The red-on-red of the slaw and the dressing are the perfect colorful antidote for long winter nights.
Cranberry and Maple Bread Pudding
Classic bread pudding is given a seasonal make-over via the winter weather combination of maple syrup and tart cranberries. A crème fraîche batter adds delicious complexity to each mouthful.
Cranberry and Pearly Onion Relish
Cranberry and Port Sorbet
The velvet roundness of port together with tart cranberries makes a luscious, ruby-hued sorbet. It's just the right way to end a warming winter meal that needs a light but memorably beautiful finish.