Nov 182012


Fresh Cranberries Are Ready for Their Close-Up
Fresh Cranberries Are Ready for Their Close-Up

This week I found myself with a beautiful basket full of Meyer lemons, cayenne peppers, and other delights, courtesy of our landlords/neighbors/friends, who grow a veritable Garden (and orchard) of Eden. Meyer lemons are less acidic than standard lemons, (in fact, they’re thought to be a botanical cross between a lemon and an orange), and bring an engaging floral note to dishes.

I also found myself with a need to roast a turkey this weekend. ¬†We’ll be travelling to see family for Thanksgiving this year and they will make a delicious feast, but it just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t roast my own at some point. Thanksgiving is basically high holy day for the cooking-inclined. And since we’re looking down the barrel of highly-scheduled weekends from now until January, it’s now or never.

So– sides. Maple Jalapeno Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts are a must. (I’ll shoot some photos of that one today and see if I can get it posted before the holiday.) Mashed potatoes– obviously. Gravy from the pan drippings– required. Wedges of butternut squash roasted with fresh sage, garlic, and crunchy Maldon sea salt– yes, please.

So now, I just need something acidic to counter and balance all those rich flavors. Cranberry sauce is the traditional choice. I like a good, basic sauce, (made by simmering fresh cranberries, orange juice, water, and sugar) as much as the next girl. But this year, thanks to the aforementioned basket of goodness, I thought I’d go for something tarter and more complex. A Cranberry Meyer Lemon chutney.

What’s the difference between a cranberry sauce and a cranberry chutney, you ask? Well, there can be a lot of overlap. Chutneys are generally a bit chunky, whereas a sauce is often smoother. And as chutneys typically involve a fruit, an acidic element, and an array of savory and spicy elements with “kick”, I think this recipe falls squarely under that category.

I’m off to roast my turkey now. Give this recipe a try and see if you might not enjoy a more savory, kicky and tart than sweet burst of cranberry this year.

Cranberries, Meyer Lemons, and Cayenne Peppers

Cranberries, Meyer Lemons, and Cayenne Peppers Play Integral Roles in this Chutney

Cranberry Meyer Lemon Chutney


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 4-6 organic Meyer lemons (4 large/5 medium/6 small), to produce 1/2 cup lemon juice and as much thinly-sliced lemon peel as you can get
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard, such as dijon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cayenne or other hot, fresh red chile peppers
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • pinch kosher or sea salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Peel each lemon. With a sharp knife, remove any remaining pith (white part) from the peel. (It's bitter, so be finicky about it.) Slice your nearly-translucent peel into thin strips.
  2. Juice the lemons until you have 1/2 cup of juice.
  3. Stem and de-seed your cayenne peppers; finely dice the flesh.
  4. Crush your peppercorns.
  5. Combine cranberries, lemon peel, lemon juice, diced cayenne, water, sugar, peppercorns, mustard, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and salt in a saucepan.
  6. Simmer,stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst and mixture has thickened.
  7. Taste, adjust sugar and/or salt if necessary, and remove cinnamon sticks before serving.

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