Thanksgiving is in nine days, so I have a lot of planning to do. I always make the classics: mashed potatoes, candied yams, stuffing, etc. It's tradition. But I also like to get creative and throw in a few new dishes for my guests to try. I've been trotting out the same cranberry sauce for years now, which never, ever gets finished, so I think it's time for a change.
We have a pomegranate tree in our garden that gives us a bounty of beautiful fruit every fall. The color and flavor match so well with cranberries, that it just makes sense to combine them. Since this dish is more of a relish than a sauce, I decided to pair the pomegranate seeds with dried cranberries. I soaked dried cranberries in a spiced cinnamon tea with star anise and cloves (see tips). This ensures that they won't be gummy. The rest of the relish is composed of green onions, garlic, orange, orange peels, olive oil and vinegar. I don't object to the crunch, but if the seeds of the pomegranate bother you, you could always juice them and just cut back on the vinegar.
The sweet and sour relish tastes absolutely amazing with poultry. So this Thanksgiving, don't forget to prepare a few flavorful condiments besides gravy to go with your turkey. Have fun!
Servings: 6 servings
2 teaspoons Maharaja Chai/ Samurai Chai Blend (see tips)
1 ripe pomegranate (about ⅓ cup fresh seeds)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lavender honey
1 celery stalk, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed, peeled and finely minced
¾ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon green, pink, white peppercorn blend, freshly ground
1 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sweet basil leaves, chopped
Prepping the cranberries: Place the chai blend in a cup. Cover with 2 cups boiling water. Let steep for 3 minutes. Strain the tea and then soak the cranberries in the hot tea for at least half an hour. Strain and reserve the cranberries.
Prepping the orange: Using a vegetable peeler, create thin strips of orange zest.
Blanch the orange zest (dip for 1 minute in boiling water, then transfer to an ice bath). Repeat twice. This helps to lower the bitterness of the fruit. Drain and pat dry the orange zest with a paper towel and finely chop. Set aside.
How to segment a citrus: Using a sharp knife, peel the orange (remove the white membrane) and trim both ends. With the same knife, remove the membrane wall on one side around a segment. Separate the segment along the next membrane. Free the segment and gently pull it away from the fruit, removing all the membrane. Repeat and remove the rest of the segments. Gather the segments in a bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Gather the remaining orange with the membranes and squeeze as much as juice as possible from the membranes into another bowl.
Be sure to remove the pulp from the orange juice, using a strainer. Place the orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 5-6 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 1-2 tablespoons of concentrated orange juice. Remove from the heat.
In a small pan, heat the canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add the green onions. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and stir constantly until fragrant. Turn off the heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Toss well and transfer to a bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the basil. Let the whole mixture marinate for at least 30 minutes. Add the basil and mix well.
Serve at room temperature.
I love Teavana tea shop and recently purchased their Maharaja Chai/ Samurai Chai Blend. I have it every morning. I love it because it has a very pleasant, bold, fruity flavor with hints of ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. You could use your favorite tea and add the spices separately.
You could skip the concentrated orange juice step but the flavor of the citrus won't be as intense.
You can find pomegranate molasses in any Iranian/Pakistani store. It adds a nice tart aroma to the relish.
If you like it spicy, you could add finely chopped chipotle peppers to the relish.