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Cranberry-Fig Sauce

Cranberry-Fig Sauce

Figs bring a touch of sweetness to this bright, chutney-ish cranberry sauce and nicely offset the sharpness of the vinegar.

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 lb. fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 6 oz. dried Turkish figs, coarsely chopped
  • ⅔ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Recipe Preparation

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallot and rosemary, stirring often, until shallot is starting to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Add cranberries, figs, brown sugar, vinegar, ½ tsp. salt, and red pepper flakes and increase heat to medium-high.

  • Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, and cook, stirring often and reducing heat as needed to avoid scorching, until cranberries burst, juices are syrupy, and pan is visible when a wooden spoon is dragged across the bottom, 9–12 minutes. Let cool. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

  • Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Reviews Section

Note: Refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

  • 4 ounces dried California or Turkish figs, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cointreau
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cup apple or grape juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar, preferably organic
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated with a Microplane
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried chile pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries

  • 6-10 lb pork loin roast ( boneless)
  • 1-2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1-2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2-3 8 ounce jars Cranberry Chutney (2-3 cups) (or homemade)*
  • 2-8 8 ounces Jars Fig Jam (2-3 cups)*

1. Preheat oven to 350 Deg F.

2. Mix together 1 jar of cranberry chutney and 1 jar of fig jam into a bowl. Heat in microwave one minute then stir together well. Set aside. (Use 2 jars of each if making 2 roasts/ 1 large roast cut in half.

3. Cut Pork Loin roast to fit cast iron pan. If its a very large roast, or serving a large amount of people, you may need to bake in two pans.

4. Slash fat on top of the pork loin in one inch squares in a criss cross pattern, cutting almost all the way through the fat but not into the pork meat, and season generously with salt and pepper.

5. Heat a seasoned cast iron pan on high ( or two pans) and let preheat for about 5-7 minutes or until very hot and smoking.

6. Sear the pork loin on all sides, about 2-3 minutes a side.

7. Keeping the fat side up, place the pork in the cast iron pan into the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Check internal temperature. If at 130 Deg F, spoon half of the cranberry chutney fig jam mixture over the top and bake another 5-10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 Deg.

8. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes, removing from cast iron pan to cutting board or serving platter after 5 minutes. Keep the remaining half of the remaining fig cranberry mixture warm to spoon over slices once served.

9. When ready to serve slice the pork into 1 inch thick slices, spoon some of the reserved chutney jam mixture over the top. Serve with Cranberry Orange Risotto and any vegetable you like to round out the meal. I love slightly baked crisp haricot verts with slices almonds and pomegranate, seasoned with just salt and pepper. Rolls and a salad would also go well with this meal and of course don&rsquot forget the wine! Enjoy!


Cranberry Fig Jam (image T. Freuman)

Growing up, I never touched the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Back then, my mom served the cloyingly-sweet jellied version, straight from a can, and I never quite understood the appeal.

Fast forward to adulthood, when I had the good fortune to acquire a sister-in-law who is an expert maker of all things jelly and jam. She has taken on the annual Thanksgiving cranberry sauce-making, using fresh cranberries, a hint of orange zest, and only half the sugar called for by standard recipes. Finally, I came to appreciate the important role of this seasonal condiment on the Thanksgiving table beyond the gorgeous pop of magenta it provides on a plate dominated by brown-hued mounds ofcomfort food. When done right, a good cranberry sauce adds tart counterbalance to a meal dominated by earthy flavors, while the acid helps cut through the fat of those buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. After all, there’s plenty of sweetness come dessert time I want my cranberry sauce to be a bit more on the tart side. If you’re in the market for a classic cranberry sauce that fits this bill and has 75% of the daily value of vitamin C to boot, here’s recipe #1: a simple Cranberry Sauce that’s just sweet enough.

But if you’re going to go through the trouble of making a cranberry condiment from scratch, wouldn’t it be great to make one with legs beyond its one-meal-a-year debut at Thanksgiving dinner?

It was this idea that got me thinking about making a hybrid condiment–part jam, part spread, part chutney– that could dutifully serve its function at the Thanksgiving table, but could continue on into the season to adorn the bread that holds together the leftover turkey sandwiches…to serve as a fruit filling to seasonal cookies…to accompany nutty, aged pecorinos on a holiday cheese platter… to spread on pancakes and waffles for winter morning breakfasts… to put into mini mason jars and give as gifts for the holidays…

After tinkering with a recipe provided by Chef Greg Aversa of Smokin’ Betty’s restaurant in Philly, I came up with a jam-like, chutney-ish spread that tastes sort of like a cranberry fig newton filling and has me finding all sorts of excuses to spread it on foods both savory and sweet. It’s a super-fast, beyond-easy and incredibly versatile condiment to have on hand as the holidays approach.


Fig and Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry sauce in a mold is starting to feel a bit dated, and getting the cranberry sauce out of the mold intact is a challenging task. This chutney is a great alternative to cranberry sauce. It has bold bright flavors and it tastes great on its own or paired with turkey. It is also an excellent addition to a post-Thanksgiving sandwich.

This recipe only takes 25 minutes to prepare, and only 10 minutes of active preparation time. You just need to do some chopping, sautéing, and boiling. Anyone can make this recipe with ease.

The figs add a rich flavor to the chutney while letting the cranberry be the start of the show. The orange breaks down almost completely as the chutney cooks, but the citrus notes remain noticeable. The chutney is filled chunks of cranberry adding a nice texture and burst of flavor to each bite.

When I hosted Thanksgiving for my friends this was one of their favorite dishes. I was a little surprised because in the past cranberry sauce hasn’t been that popular! I know that not everyone loves figs, and that they can be hard to find sometimes, I think that you could make a cranberry chutney by simply omitting the figs.

You can make this chutney a couple of days ahead of time. I think it even tastes best after it rests for a couple of days, plus it is always nice to have a couple recipes ready before Thanksgiving day. Making this a day or two early also gives the chutney plenty of time to chill, you want to serve it chilled. This is an easy no fuss side dish to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner, it travels well and doesn’t need to be heated.

If you want to try another cranberry recipe, make this cranberry salsa. It’s as a dip or side dish.


Pan-Seared Salmon with Cranberry-Fig Sauce

All you need:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6-8 oz.) salmon filets, skin removed
Salt, to taste
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons fig preserves
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves

All you do:
1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon filets with salt and place in the hot pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and flaky. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add onion and cranberries to the same pan and sauté until the cranberries start to pop, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, orange zest/juice and fig preserves and cook for 2 minutes longer.
3. Finish the sauce with fresh rosemary. Spoon sauce over each salmon filet and serve.

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Cranberry Fig Chutney

Thanksgiving dinner is simply not complete without a cranberry sauce. While I have nothing against the traditional cranberry-sugar combination, I often find missing an extra layer or kick of flavor – so I devised this chutney. Chutneys are concoctions of sweet and savory fruit, spices and herbs, resulting in a well-rounded mouthful that pops in your mouth. This recipe is not heavily weighed down by too many spices, so the humble cranberry shines through – which, of course, is a requisite for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Fig Chutney

This chutney is not just for the Thanksgiving table. Use it as a condiment for roasted pork, duck and chicken. It’s also delicious when served as a condiment on a cheese board, or dabbed on crostini with soft goat cheese. Makes about 2 cups.

18 dried black mission figs, quartered
1/2 cup Port wine
12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger (I use a microplane)
Juice and zest from 1/2 orange
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (2-inch) rosemary sprig

Place the figs in a small bowl. Pour the Port wine over the figs. Set aside for 30 minutes. When the figs are ready, place the cranberries and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add the figs and Port wine, the ginger, orange juice and zest, pepper, salt, and rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the cranberries burst and the chutney has thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Discard the rosemary sprig. (The chutney may be made up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature).


Cranberry & Fig Chutney

I have already confessed my dislike for Thanksgiving food, cranberry sauce being one of my least favorite items (coming in just behind those marshmallow-adorned sweet potatoes). But last year my mom made this incredible cranberry and fig concoction that changed my life. Ok that might be a little dramatic. It changed my feelings towards cranberry sauce. But when you eat, sleep, breath, and obsess over food 24/7, such a sudden reversal of taste can seem life changing. I am really digging myself into a deeper nerd hole. I should probably just stop typing. But make this.

It will be hard to not eat this in the car ride down to Maryland, but if we get stranded by this poler vortex nor&rsquoeaster thing, don&rsquot worry about me, I will be good for a few days.


Cranberry fig tart

Cranberry red is the Tiffany touch on the Thanksgiving plate. The jewel-like quality of the color adds just the right accent to the dressiest meal of the year.

Just about everything else on the plate starts out one hue and morphs. Cranberries keep their in-your-eye vibrancy no matter how long you cook them, or how many other ingredients you make them play with. No wonder the Wampanoags who celebrated the first feast with the Pilgrims used the native berries as a dye as well as a food (they developed the original sun-dried cranberries for a form of jerky called pemmican).

Even cooks who compulsively reinvent the entire turkey-and-trimmings menu every November feel compelled to serve some permutation of cranberry sauce -- and not just for tradition’s sake. Certainly nothing else counters the richness of the meal as well, but the color contrast is as crucial as the tangy tartness.

Red complements every other classic ingredient: the white and dark meat of the turkey, the ivory of the mashed potatoes, the glistening tan of the gravy, the dusky brown of the stuffing, the velvety green of whatever vegetable steps up to the plate to add another hint of color -- and especially the deep orange of sweet potatoes, with or without their crown of marshmallows.

The fact that cranberries are one of the very few ingredients that remain truly seasonal simply adds to the allure of their skins. For all the incessant finagling of agribusiness, cranberries can only be brought to market for a few short months in the fall.

Maybe that’s why they evoke autumn leaves in New England. And anyone who has ever watched them being corralled on flooded bogs against the backdrop of countless trees changing from green to crimson and gold knows that the cranberry harvest is the greatest show in agriculture. A flash of jewel-worthy red brings a little of that drama to the table too.


Balsamic Cranberry and Fig Sauce

2 Tbsp. Olio Silver Tree Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 large shallot, finely diced
¾ c. light brown sugar
½ c. honey
¼ c. orange juice
½ c. granulated sugar
Pinch Olio Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
1 Ib. fresh cranberries
1 c. red wine (Pinot Noir, recommended)
12 dried figs, chopped into small pieces
2-3 Tbsp. Olio Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar

  1. Bring the wine to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off the heat, add whole figs and let soak until soft, about 30 minutes.
  1. Heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the grated ginger and shallots, stirring, until soft. (Do not allow shallots to brown).
  2. Stir in brown sugar, honey, orange juice, sugar and Olio Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbly.
  1. Add 2/3 of the cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. (Cover the top of the pot with a splattered proof screen or a piece of foil to avoid a mess on the stove top).
  2. Add the remaining cranberries and cook another 5 minutes or so.
  1. Drain the figs (save the soaking liquid) and add them to the cranberry sauce.
  2. Cook for another minute and stir in the Olio Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the remaining liquid to thin. Serve warm or at room.

Recipe by Beth Scanlon, CC, Food Fare Carterers adapted from Bobby Flay


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