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The 5 Best Cranberry Sauce Alternatives

Cranberry sauce is a legit classic but it doesn’t have to be the only fruit-driven side on your holiday table. In fact, maybe you should just use it in a great cranberry cocktail and leave the holiday table to some other, more interesting cranberry sauce alternatives. As you’re looking to slather something on a slice or turkey, roll, or leftover sandwich the next day, consider the following.

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Chutney Recipes

A thick relish of sorts hailing from India, chutney is the condiment you never knew you loved. It can function like a chunky jam, great on everything from toast and pita bread to roasted vegetables and poultry. We borrowed a pair of great options from Jamie Oliver that will work through the holidays and beyond.

Mango Chutney Recipe

Mango chutney.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This sweet and spicy option is great for immediate use and can be thrown in the fridge for months. Go South Asian and try it with curries or simply apply some to turkey or a simple cheese and crackers spread.

Ingredients:

  • 4.5 lbs mangos (firm, but ripe)
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 500 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 piece of ginger (3-inches)

Directions:

  1. Peel, stone, and roughly chop the mangos; set aside.
  2. Remove the cardamom seeds from the pods. Peel and finely chop the garlic, then trim and finely chop the chili.
  3. Add the vinegar and sugar to a large pan over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to boil and reduce heat.
  4. Gently toast the cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds until aromatic, then crush with the chili powder using a pestle and mortar. Add to the pan vinegar, along with the chopped mango, nigella seeds, and 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
  5. Finely grate in the ginger, add the garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until it has a thick, syrupy consistency, adding the chopped chili for the last 10 minutes.
  6. Divide among jars, seal and keep for up to 6 months.

Spiced Plum Chutney Recipe

Spiced plum chutney.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A good stone fruit chutney can make the holiday table sing, especially this one with its deep, wintery flavors.

Ingredients:

  • vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 lbs mixed plums
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • .5 tsp ground allspice
  • .5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1 orange
  • Cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan over a low heat. Peel and slice the shallots, then cook gently, or until softened and golden brown. Meanwhile, stone and chop the plums.
  2. Add the bay leaves and spices to the pan, fry for 1 minute then stir in the plums. Add the sugar and finely grate in the orange zest.
  3. Squeeze the orange juice into a measuring jug and top up to 2 cups with cider vinegar. Add to the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer slowly until most of the water has evaporated and the chutney is reduced and thick, stirring now and then as it cooks.
  4. Spoon the chutney into jars and seal straight away. Leave to cool and store in a cupboard for a few weeks before eating.

Alt Sauces

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Simple to make and versatile in its uses, this pomegranate sauce is great in drinks, atop pancakes, or with some pork.

Ingredients:

  • 12 large pomegranates
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • .5 cup lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Cut pomegranates in half and put seeds through a juice reamer.
  2. Strain juice through a damp jelly bag or several layers of damp cheesecloth.
  3. Measure 5 cups of pomegranate juice.
  4. In a large saucepot combine the pomegranate juice, lemon juice and sugar.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
  6. Reduce heat to low, or medium low, depending on your stove. You want product at a constant simmer.
  7. Simmer, stirring often, until product is reduced by half.
  8. Ladle hot sauce into sterile, hot jars.
  9. Leave 1/4 inch head space.
  10. Wipe rims and adjust caps.
  11. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes at altitudes up to 1000 feet.
  12. This makes 4 half-pints.

Cherry Gastrique Recipe

Bowl of cherries.
Klimkin / Pixabay

A good gastrique is a sweet and sour delight, perfect for poultry but especially gamier proteins like waterfowl or lamb. It’s even a great base as a salad vinaigrette. We especially like this Thomas Keller recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 22 Bing cherries (about 9 ounces, stems removed)
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup honey

Directions:

  1. Pit 7 of the cherries and coarsely chop. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining cherries, vinegar, and honey in large saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary and skimming off any foam, for about 45 minutes, until the gastrique has reached syrupy consistency. Spoon some on plate to check consistency.
  3. Refrigerate until cold. The gastrique should hold its shape when the plate is tilted. If necessary, return the pan to the heat and continue to cook.
  4. Strain gastrique through basket strainer into a bowl, pressing on the cherries with a wooden spoon to push pulp through. Stir in the chopped cherries. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Chunky Applesauce Recipe

applesauce in clear glass dishes sitting on a rectangular serving plate.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

By Ina Garten at Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 2 large navel oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6 to 8 apples)
  • 3 pounds sweet red apples, such as Macoun, McIntosh, or Winesap (about 6 to 8 apples)
  • .5 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • .5 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples (reserving the peel of 2 of the red apples) and toss them in the juice. Pour the apples, reserved apple peel, and juice into a nonreactive Dutch oven or enameled iron pot. Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice and cover the pot. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until all the apples are soft. Remove and discard the red apple peel. Mix with a whisk until smooth, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Mark Stock

Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since. He spent years making, selling, and sipping Pinot Noir in the Dundee Hills before a full return to his journalistic roots in 2016. He's helplessly tied to European soccer, casting for trout, and grunge rock. In addition to The Manual, he writes for SevenFifty Daily, Sip Northwest, The Somm Journal, The Drake, Willamette Week, Travel Oregon, and more. He has a website and occasionally even updates it: markastock.com.

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