Roasted Cranberries

by Min Merrell

 Picture this: a long rustic farm table scattered with pine cones and white pillar candles, dishtowel napkins, mismatched heirloom glassware, and plates. Here come the heaping free-range and grass-fed platters. After such an investment, Durkee onion-topped green bean casserole and a plate of can-sliced cranberry jelly are simply not welcome. Canned soup isn’t modern anymore. There’s no craft in canned cranberry jelly.

Your farm-to-table setting calls for minimalist, primitive sides like oven-roasted vegetables and cranberries. Our holiday menus depend on these. An impressive platter of mixed roots like potatoes, carrots, and turnips, and a dish of roasted cranberries seem just right with turkey, duck, pork, or beef. Cooking without water results in concentrated nutty flavors without a lot of work or attention.

You’ll be astounded by the roasted cranberries. Because we’re not boiling the fresh berries in liquid, the roasted berries will be luscious and thick, more like a relish or chutney than a salad.

We’ve got two styles to add to your arsenal, both starting with a bag of cranberries and a cup of sugar. One combines the berries with apple, orange, and pecans. The other is a savory/spicy version flavored with onion and fresh jalapeno peppers. You’ll love them both. Be bold with the jalapeños. The cranberries can handle them and the spicy-sweet flavor is spectacular. If you just want plain roasted cranberries to add to other recipes, roast them with 2 tablespoons of oil and one cup of sugar. They are spectacular as is!

Even better, as a cocktail appetizer, roasted cranberries will deep-six the pepper jelly dumped on a block of cream cheese. Instead, we’re serving our Roasted Cranberry Conserve on the holiday cheese platter. Pair it with nutty manchego, creamy goat cheese, sharp cheddar, and smoked gouda.

The intense, concentrated cranberry flavors that come from hot oven roasting are exceptional. As a relish on a cheese tray, fantastic, as on a bowl of steaming oatmeal.

Here’s a fantastic modern way to enjoy a gelatin cranberry salad, too.

Add sparkle to a salad like this:


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