Vidalia Onion-Cranberry Relish
Trisha ThompsonTrisha Thompson makes a Vidalia Onion Cranberry Relish recipe in this installment of KitchenDaily's Family Chef series, in which home cooks make recipes from our database and tell you how it went -- what they changed, what they kept and who was in the kitchen helping.
Why do we eat cranberries only on a certain Thursday in November? Is it a Pilgrim thing? I never cared for cranberries, so I never thought about why they appear only once a year and then promptly disappear. Now I care. Now I ask. Now I have the fervor of a convert to cranberries. Because now I have seen the light! -- in the form of this Vidalia Onion Cranberry Relish recipe.
Once I tasted it, I realized it wasn't cranberries I disliked, it was the fruity sweet stuff that it is usually mixed with (orange juice, ginger, lots of white sugar). I'm not big on fruity-sweet flavors, whether in relishes, sauces, side dishes, or cocktails. Ok, I'm fine with fruity-sweet in desserts, of course, within reason, and all that.
Anyway, I stuck pretty close to this recipe because it sounded so good. I used red onions because I didn't have vidalias -- the dark purple onions were a lovely contrast to the cranberry red, and I think they are almost as sweet as vidalias. I used olive oil instead of butter to sauté the onions so that the relish wouldn't solidify as much when chilled (though I think it may be best at room temp). I omitted the raisins and cinnamon (remember, I have that no fruity-sweet rule, but go ahead and indulge if you like). And I used white instead of red wine in the onions (didn't have a red open) and only a 1/2 cup of water to cook the cranberries (because that's all the liquid it seemed to need). I gave them a bit of a mashing in the pot after they'd popped.
I can't tell you how addictive this relish is. Well, maybe I can. It's great on a turkey sandwich (natch) with a swipe of mayo. It's incredible with roasted pork loin. It's unctuous (yes, unctuous!) with warmed brie on toast. My teenage daughters eat it straight out of the jar, like chunky jam. And this week I've been serving it with my Hanukkah latkes, as an alternative to applesauce (which I find too watery and, you guessed it, fruity-sweet). Savory-sweet, all-purpose goodness, that's what this is. And quite beautiful on your December holiday table too. When you find more uses for this dish, please let me know.