One thing that I have to have with a whole cooked turkey is my super simple and Easy Cranberry Relish. I have been making it for years and will continue to make it as long as I am cooking the big holiday meals for my family. The amazing flavor you get from adding this tangy tart relish to roasted turkey is everything. It makes it feel like home to me. And it could not be easier to put together – with only five ingredients that you pop into a slow cooker and leave in the corner of the counter while you make all the rest of the meal.
What is also amazing about the cranberry relish is how good it is on those yummy leftover turkey sandwiches! I have even used it on turkey burgers – sooo good. The flavor mix of the turkey and cranberry is a match made in culinary heaven. So why do I call it a “relish” and not a “sauce” – mostly because of the thickness of the final product. I like to leave some whole berries, and I never puree or blend it. It is a more rustic take on the classic jellied (from a can) cranberry sauce so many are used to seeing next to their turkey.
While this recipe is super simple, it does require two pretty specific kitchen items to be made successfully. You are going to need a smaller slow cooker – like this 2 Quart One – to make this recipe. The larger 6 qt one that I usually tell you about is just too large with too wide of a base to let the cranberries “stew” in the orange juices. Second you are going to need a good Microplane to zest the oranges. You get an immense amount of flavor from the zest of any citrus. Just remember that you only want to get the outer, colorful layer and not the pith (the white layer under the skin before you get to the flesh of the fruit).
This recipe definitely falls into the garnish or condiment category – certainly not a stand alone dish. Unless, I guess, you really really like cranberries! The tartness inherent to a cranberry makes it a bit much to have on it’s own. That’s why I add both salt and sugar to the recipe to help balance things out some.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
Easy Cranberry Relish
- 12 oz Fresh Cranberries not frozen
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 Medium Navel Oranges zest and juice
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- ½ tsp Salt
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low.
- Halfway through cook time, use a spoon to "pop" as many cranberries as are easy to pop (minimal effort). You want to leave several whole cranberries.
- At the end of the cook time, again pop more cranberries and stir. This should come together as a thicker relish. Remove cinnamon sticks (can be used for presentation if desired).
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