It was Thanksgiving dinner a few years back and I gamely served up mounds of what appeared to be a hearty mush on each plate.
Gathered friends and family dug in, some finishing a second or even a third bite.
The silence was deafening.
That was my failed attempt at a turducken, a turkey, chicken, duck combination popularized in Louisiana. It is sort of like a poultry lasagna, layers of meat interspersed with layers of stuffing. I never did figure out how you carve the thing without it all getting smooshed up.
I've had a few Thanksgiving misses, like the multi-bird mashup, but a couple of hits, too.
One is a very simple cranberry relish recipe.
The recipe calls for using an-old fashioned, hand-cranked grinder, the kind that's also used for sausage.
It's the only time all year I use the grinder, but I like pulling it out of the back of the kitchen pantry, setting it up and running the ingredients through. The texture is a little coarse, a bit uneven, which adds to the rustic simplicity of the relish. So does the addition of oranges, peel and all.
As you put this together, it may seem like way too much sugar. It isn't. The sugar balances the tartness of the cranberries, apples and oranges. Another good thing: You can make this the day before the big feed and let it mellow in the refrigerator overnight.
This version of the recipe is from the website simplyrecipes.com.
I'll be grinding out the relish again this week.
And if anybody knows the secret to turducken carving, give me a holler?
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes about 3 cups.
2 cups washed raw cranberries
2 skinned and cored tart apples
1 large, whole (peel ON) seedless orange, cut into sections
1 to 2 cups granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you would like your relish to be)
1 Set up the grinder with a medium-sized blade on the edge of a table with a large roasting pan or bowl to catch the mix as it grinds. These old fashioned grinders tend to leak some of the juice down the grinder base, so you may want to set up an additional pan on the floor under the grinder to catch the drips. If you don't have an old-fashioned grinder you can use a grinder attachment on a KitchenAid mixer, you can chop by hand (though that will take a lot of work), or you can chop in a food processor (be very careful not to over-pulse, or you'll end up with mush).
2 Run fruit through a grinder. Use the entire (seedless) orange, peels, pith and all.
3 Mix in the sugar. Let sit at room temperature until sugar dissolves, about 45 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.