Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spiced Cranberry Chutney with Apricots, Cherries and Pecans























When did we as Americans (just my observation) start filling our tables and bellies with an assortment of fatty and sugary food for Thanksgiving?  Do we use the holiday as an excuse to over indulge? I do believe that all most things in moderation are fine but I would really like to see more real, whole foods on the holiday table. I love veggies but even if your not as excited about them as I am, there are so many delicious and new ways to try them that there's really no reason to load your plate with 3 different kinds of potatoes, stuffing and bread.





Fall produce is one of the healthiest and tastiest in my opinion and needs very little or no sugar or additives to make them a perfect holiday dinner addition. Take cranberries for example. Besides being gorgeous, they are a super power food for your health and yet most people buy the canned stuff and then pour sugar into them. Whole, fresh cranberries can be simply prepared or added to stuffing, squash, a salad or as a chutney.



Try making this cranberry, apricot and cherry chutney this year, it goes perfect with turkey and you can add it to your left over turkey sandwiches for a tangy twist! You can add diced apples too if you'd like. No sugar is needed but if you find it too tart, which I happen to love, add a teaspoon of  honey or turbinado/raw sugar to the cranberries as they cook.




Check back in the next day or two, I will be posting a simple and savory variation of green bean casserole.




Cranberry Chutney

1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1-12 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup dried cherries or fresh chopped apples
1/2 cup dried apricots chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 tsps. orange zest
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground fennel and ground cardamom
1/8 tsp each ground cloves and ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper!


Mix spices; bring cider, pom juice and spice blend to a gentle boil in a large saucepan. Add cranberries and return to a gentle boil. Cook until some of the cranberries just start to pop, 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix dried cherries, apples if using, apricots, pecans and orange zest in a bowl. Add cooked cranberries and toss gently to coat. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be covered and refrigerated for a week.






A note on spices used in this recipe.




Fennel

Fennel Seed is a common herb used to promote good digestion and ease gas and bloating. This Mediterranean herb can also be found in many medicinal formulas designed to help ease women through monthly fluctuations. Fennel is also thought to help produce milk for nursing mothers.  Fennel is said to cure earache, toothache, asthma and rheumatism. It is meant to help stop hiccups and coughs, and improve eyesight. It has even been thought of as a good slimming agent. Fennel oil is used in cough medicine, liquorice sweets, perfumes and soaps.



Cardamom



 Cardamom is a very intense and wonderful spice. If you haven't ever tried it I suggest you add it to your spice collection soon. Use it in this cranberry recipe, stuffing's, Indian and Mediterranean foods, give your Holiday cookies and cakes a wonderful exotic flavor, pairs well with orange flavor.

Cardamom is know for oral/gum health and a powerful antioxidant, especially when concerning the brain.
I thought this piece of information was very interesting and fun however.

Cardamom is also widely known as an aphrodisiac in the more mystic and esoteric circles of society. Love spells, love potions and general chemical concoctions having to do with romance, lust and attraction usually have cardamom as a component. 



7 comments:

  1. Goodness gracious, Gwen! How beautiful is that?! Love the tutorial on spices!

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  2. I agree with you, all that over indulging really does a number on me. Since Thanksgiving is at my house, I'm adding several veggie and fruit sides this year. We'll see how that goes over! I've never made a chutney. Your colorful recipe looks like a terrific way to start!

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  3. This chutney looks really good. Last month, during Canadian Thanksgiving, my uncle looked at our homemade cranberry sauce and said 'wow, that stuff is really hard to make'. I laughed because it really is the easiest part about Thanksgiving! I only once ate the canned stuff and I haven't had it since. That was about 15 years ago. I've never understood why people resort to the processed stuff so readily. Great post and beautiful photos.

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  4. It's hard to not overindulge during the holidays, but I have a holiday tradition of adding one new dish each year. Some make it to the table every year after - some don't. This year, I did an entirely new Thanksgiving and made each dish healthy! I can't tell you how much fun I had! Plus....we all felt like we had a feast! The chutney looks simply stunning!

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  5. That's good to hear! Thank you so much.
    Happy Holidays.

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  6. What a glorious seasonal chutney! I almost wish I was hosting Thanksgiving this year...almost! Thank you for sharing another inspired recipe with me. I hope you are having a great start to your week. Many blessings this Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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  7. MPfennighaus11/27/2011

    That looks really good! I love cranberries. Thanksgiving is over but I have an extra stash in my freezer!

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