Spicy Cranberry Salsa Recipe

In 2009, I spent Thanksgiving in my new home in Gramercy Park. My guests were all Southern expatriates and fellow Bulldawgs gathering to enjoy a feast with friends. My part in hosting was to provide the location and cook the communal turkey as well as three of the side dishes. Four days before the holiday I learned that the gas stove wasn't working and that there wasn't time to get it fixed. Thanks to the genius of my doormen, I was able to cook the turkey in an empty apartment ten floors below. I have to say it all ended well even though I didn't think it would. 

What kicked off the holiday for me was making my friend Adam Orr's Spicy Cranberry Salsa. That salsa along with tortilla chips put a fun spin on the ever-present holiday cranberry. Note to spice lovers, you will want to eat this daily. It's got a sweet heat that is hard to resist.

Adam's Spicy Cranberry Salsa:

Ingredients

  • 2  cups  fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped orange sections (about 3 oranges)...blood oranges will work nicely here, too
  • 1/3  cup  chopped red onion
  • 1/3  cup  fresh OJ (reserved from cutting the orange segments)
  • 3  tablespoons  sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 to 1 habanero, seeded, deveined and finely minced

Place cranberries in a food processor; pulse 2 to 3 times or until coarsely chopped. Combine cranberries, orange sections, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine. Cover and chill for 4 hours to let flavors mix.

ALSO...

I thought I'd also share my family's recipe for Cranberry Orange Relish. It's more than cranberry sauce. It's zesty and chunky and sweet and a perfect counterpart to the cranberry salsa above. It was also devised in the 1950's so prepare to use Jell-o gelatin.

Cranberry Orange Relish:

Ingredients

  • 3 Navel oranges, grated
  • 3 apples, grated
  • 1 pound of cranberries
  • 2 boxes of Cherry flavored Jell-o gelatin
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar

Pulse chopped oranges, apples, and cranberries in the blender 3 to 4 times. Boil 2 cups of water and add both boxes of Jell-o and sugar. Add orange/apple/cranberry mixture and stir well. Pour all ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently to combine. Cover and chill for 4 hours to let set up a bit. *This won't be jello with fruit, I promise. I mean, it is, but it won't taste like it.

Happy Holiday prep!