Monday, November 19, 2007

Let the cranberry hoarding begin!

It's that time of the year when the cranberries are bountiful in the markets and one can usually score a good deal. This weekend was our time to stock up for the next few months as they were under $1 per bag! Woo!

We decided to incorporate those fresh cranberries in both dishes for our dinner tonight - I started with this Carrot-Cranberry Gratin we had as a side. Haul out your food processor for this recipe - a bunch of carrots and an apple need to be coarsely grated, so the prep time will be greatly reduced if you have one. Once those ingredients are prepped, the dish takes no time to throw together and can be left to bake unattended while you work on the rest of dinner. The skinny threads of bright orange carrots and the milky-white Fuji apple are tossed with tart ruby-red cranberries, apple cider and honey. This mixture is then packed into a large baking dish - be sure to push the firm cranberries down so the top is somewhat level as this will make smearing the top with a light layer of soft butter much easier.

There are a lot of sweet elements swirling about here, but between the butter on top and the cranberries strewn about, the two leveled the playing field and it certainly did not feel like eating dessert. While the baking process brought out the carrot's natural sweetness, they did bring a needed savory element to the dish. There is nothing to bind the ingredients together, so it won't really come out in one neat and tidy piece - however, it was also not too tough to scoop out with a flexible spatula without it falling apart.

The next use for those bouncy cranberries tonight was a recipe for Pork Medallions with Cranberry Chutney. With only a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and a bit of apple cider to tame the cranberries, this chutney is given a slightly sweeter flavor by the addition of chopped black mission figs into the mix. Chopped fresh rosemary is also added while the chutney thickens, bringing a fragrant floral note.

As the jewel-toned chutney bubbles away, thin slices of pork tenderloin are simply seasoned with salt and pepper and quickly cooked in a large skillet. Since the tenderloin is so lean and is only about an inch thick, cooking them takes just a matter of minutes - be sure to leave them in the skillet just long enough so that the center is still slightly pink to keep them juicy and tender. Cranberry and pork is a favorite combination and this did not disappoint. If you want a more starchy side than the recipe we made, this would be fantastic served over a scoop of brown jasmine rice.


  1. My husband cannot believe how many bags of cranberries I have bought this year. He does not understand the pain I was in for 10 months last year, with no frozen cranberries.

    I really, really love them. I have about 10 pounds in the deep freeze right now, but I still refuse to use any without buying a new bag or two.

  2. I just stocked up on cranberries too--my freezer is full! Yay!

    That cranberry carrot dish looks amazing...thank you so much for sharing it!


  3. Barbara - I have to laugh, I know what you mean about buying a bag or two before you use up one!

    Courtney - I hope you get a chance to make it!