Sunday, October 26, 2008

Madhur Jaffrey's Garlicky Cranberry Chutney -- for Thanksgiving and beyond

In my Mother's kitchen, one Thanksgiving tradition was to find the unopened can of cranberry sauce on Friday morning -- in time for sandwiches.

Now I never forget the cranberries. In my house, garlic and ginger go with almost everything, and for years my Thanksgiving table, and any Thanksgiving table to which I've been invited has had Madhur Jaffrey's Garlicky Cranberry Chutney
. I first heard her recite it on an NPR Thanksgiving morning program and it was reproduced with Susan Stamberg's Mother-in-law's recipe on the NPR website.  It took two or three years to get it right -- that is, to get a pen and paper while she was on the radio. 

Two years ago, I tracked down the original in Jaffrey's very excellent Madhur Jaffrey's Cookbook: Easy East/West Menus for Family and Friends (1987, Harper & Row.)   This is embarrassingly easy, and everyone will ask "Why don't you make this more often?" While it will spark up your post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches, like its cousin Hot Pepper Jam, it is also a friend to cream cheese, you can use it to glaze fish or chicken, and zip it in a blender with yogurt for a dip for vegetables. Unlike Pepper Jam, however, you don't have to retrieve your canning equipment from the pantry -- you can whip this up in under half an hour.

Ginger Garlic Cranberry Sauce (adapted from Madhur Jaffrey)

A thumb-sized knob of ginger, cut in tiny tiny julienne
3-5 cloves of garlic, crushed through a garlic pressed or very finely chopped
1/2 cup very good quality cider vinegar
4 T white sugar
1/8 - 1/4 tsp very fresh cayenne (or to taste)
1 can of jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper

1. Combine the ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small saucepan. Simmer until it is reduced to a syrup -- between 4 and 6 tablespoons, depending on the amount of ginger and garlic you begin with.
2. Add the cranberry sauce, salt and pepper, and let everything melt together. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. 

That's it!