Cranberry sauce season is over, but you can still get bags of fresh cranberries in stores, and it's a good time to stock up. Cranberries are freezable for up to a year, and they make perfect additions to dishes any time. Fresh cranberries (even ones that have been frozen) are superior to the canned variety or dried ones like Craisins. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C and fiber, the tart red fruits aren't just for holiday sauces.
Brittany Volk, Times staff writer
Salad With Pickled Cranberries
Pickling fresh cranberries amplifies their natural sweet-tart flavor. You can use pickled cranberries just as you would sauce on meats, or they can be dropped into drinks and salads, like this one. For a quick pickle, bring 1 cup water, ⅔ cup sugar, ½ cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons salt and ¼ teaspoon each crushed coriander seeds and red pepper flakes to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over 1 ½ cups cranberries in a bowl. Cool, then chill at least 4 hours. To make dressing for salad, whisk ¼ cup each mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk in a bowl, then add 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and 1 grated garlic clove. Toss with 6 heads torn Little Gem lettuce (romaine lettuce will also do) and 1 tablespoon each fresh chopped tarragon, parsley and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the pickled cranberries. Serves 4. Recipe from foodnetwork.com.
This brightly flavored salsa makes a perfect accompaniment to roast chicken, turkey, pork or fish. Try spooning a bit on top of goat cheese crostini for a delicious party treat. To make, pulse 3 cups fresh cranberries, 1 cup light brown sugar, ½ cup chopped shallot or red onion, a chopped seeded jalapeno, and the zest and juice of 1 lime in a food processor until coarsely chopped and combined. Let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes, then stir in a handful of chopped cilantro and more lime juice to loosen, if needed. Recipe from Bon Appetit.
Braised Brisket With Cranberries
First, you'll need 3 pounds beef brisket, the fat trimmed to a ¼-inch layer. Heat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the lowest position. Season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add brisket, fat side down. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating once. Transfer brisket to a plate, and reserve the pot. Add 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour to pot and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup dry red wine (such as cabernet sauvignon), 1 bay leaf, 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses, ¾ cup cranberries and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Return brisket to pot and cover. Transfer the whole thing to the oven and bake 3 hours. Stir in 1 (1-pound) bag frozen pearl onions; cover, and return pot to oven. Cook 30 minutes more. Stir in ¾ cup more cranberries; return pot to oven. Cook, uncovered, until brisket is fork-tender, 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaf before serving. Serves 8. Recipe from marthastewart.com.
One-Pan Cranberry Balsamic Roasted Chicken
Here's a festive alternative to your regular roasted chicken. Place 2 ½ pounds skin-on boneless chicken thighs or breasts (about 4 to 6) in a roasting or baking dish. Set aside. Next, prepare a marinade. Blend ⅓ cup cranberries, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons tamari sauce or gluten-free soy sauce, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and 2 garlic cloves (about 1 teaspoon minced) in a food processor or blender until liquified and smooth. Pour the marinade over the chicken, coating evenly. Cover and place in fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Once marinaded, heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove chicken from fridge and add an extra ⅓ to ½ cup cranberries, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs to the dish. Spread it out evenly on and around the chicken. Bake skin side down first for 22 minutes in oven. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon each maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Remove pan from the oven and turn chicken skin side up. Brush with the maple syrup/balsamic vinegar. Add more seasoning (like dried herbs, salt and pepper) to the top if desired. Broil for about 5 minutes or until skin is crispy and chicken is cooked evenly inside. Remove pan from oven and spoon the sauce onto chicken. Serves 4-6. Recipe from cottercrunch.com.
Cranberry Curd Tart
The original recipes calls for making your own hazelnut crust, but to save some time, a 10-inch storebought graham cracker crust will do just fine. To make the cranberry curd, place 12 ounces cranberries, 1 cup sugar and the juice and peel from 1 orange in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until cranberries have popped and softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a mesh sieve and press cooking liquid into a bowl. (Strained cranberry mixture should yield 1 ½ cups.) Whisk 1 stick softened butter into the warm liquid. In another bowl, beat 2 eggs plus 2 more egg yolks. Slowly whisk a cup of the warm cranberry liquid into the eggs to temper, then add that mixture to the saucepan and whisk. Cook over low heat until nearly bubbling and thickened, about 10 minutes. If using immediately, let cool to room temperature. If working ahead, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap (press wrap against curd) and refrigerate. If possible, make curd a day in advance. Pour cooled cranberry curd into the pie crust and smooth the top with a spatula. The uncooked tart will keep a week or more, refrigerated. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to set curd. Cool on a rack. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Serves 8-10. Recipe adapted from the New York Times.