Giving Thanks: Native Cranberry Chutney

Every magazine and catalog, every ad on the telly, every outdoor banner and every storefront follows the same old script at this time of the year. 

Embrace the Warmth. Seek The Comfort, Behold The Joy.

All I have to say is that it is that time of the year when I Suspend The Diet, Ignore The Exercise and start eating and drinking like a malnourished pig, promising myself to get back into the swing of things as soon as the last candied pecan disappears from my pantry.

Most years we join the 38 million individuals who traipse across this country braving traffic snarls, cancelled flights and cranky relatives to consume 5000 calories in one sitting. This year we decided to stay home and….you got it, Savor the Season.

As I write this, a big bird brines in the refrigerator. The Boy is buying out the local liquor store. I am finishing up a forgotten work assignment and have a sudden urge to eat an entire jar of fig preserves.

And with that dear reader, I give you my heartfelt thanks. And a recipe for a delightful Native Cranberry Chutney.

Traditional With A Twist.

Native Cranberry Chutney

The lemon zest in this chutney balances the tartness of the cranberries with a citrus flavor. The spices in the tempering, coupled with the chili powder give it a kick. It is a superb accompaniment to roast chicken, turkey or gamey meat like quail or venison. It also dresses up a boring deli sandwich with equal élan.

1 12 oz pack of fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ cup orange juice
Zest of ½ a lemon
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp oil
Pinch of asafoetida

Wash cranberries thoroughly in cold water. Throw them in a saucepan along with the water, orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower the flame and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, until the berries begin to burst.

Add the lemon zest and chili powder. Continue to cook, stirring often for about a half hour, until most of the berries have disintegrated and you get a thick sauce like consistency.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan or tempering spoon. Add cumin powder. As soon as it starts to sizzle, throw in the asafoetida. Add the spice mixture to the sauce.

Simmer for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating.

Makes approximately two cups.


  1. I like this recipe with its (desi) Indian touches, the chilli powder, cumin and asafoetida. Should definitely give it a try!

  2. Hey, you've been quiet for too long! All fine?


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