Every year, as Thanksgiving approaches, I’m struck by how much I find myself looking forward to welcoming friends, family, and neighbors to sit around our table and toast to the sheer pleasure of being together!
Most years (who am I kidding, each and every year) we kick of the Thanksgiving festivities with grower Champagne procured from our friend Christine, owner of Grace Under Pressure, the importer of The Special Club champagnes. Next stop is usually Pinot Noir--Burgundy, Oregon, Sonoma Coast...all are welcome. When mood is right, and the guest list is adventurous, sometimes we'll mix it up with a Pelaverga from Diego Morra in Verduno, Italy. This chillable, light red with notes of white pepper and cranberry, is just about the most perfect foil for the cornucopia of the Thanksgiving feast. It can match up to the turkey, flatter the mac-and-cheese, elevate the stuffing, and even make Aunt Sue's green bean casserole tolerable. And as much as we like to giver her grief for sticking with the Campbell's soup-over-Jolly-Green-Giant mess from her youth, the Cranberry Chutney she brings to the table is absolutely worth the cost of admission.
This coming Thanksgiving grab a GG, pour some Pelaverga, and try your hand and the best thing to ever come out of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Aunt Sue’s Best Ever Cranberry Chutney
½ cup cider vinegar
2 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. curry powder
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 lemons, peel grated, pith discarded, and fruit cut into sections
2 oranges, prepared as lemons
1 apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 cups cranberries, divided
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- In a large pot combine the vinegar, sugar, ginger, dried spices and 1 ½ cups water. Bring liquid to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Add lemon and orange sections and apple and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
- Add half of the cranberries, raisins and apricots and simmer until slightly thickened (30 – 40 minutes.)
- Stir in citrus zest and remaining cranberries and simmer, stirring for 10 minutes.
- Add walnuts (if used) and simmer 15 more minutes. Add more water if chutney thickens too quickly.
- Cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.