My father has been making a killer cranberry chutney for the holidays ever since I was little. When I grew older and got more into food I asked him for the recipe. He didn't have one.
He never had one.
He denies this but he throws everything into a sauce pan and simmers it to his desired consistency. In fact, it isn't even the same each year because he forgets some ingredients some years and not others. All in all, it's really quite simple - and delicious!
Here's what you start with and you shouldn't omit any of these [unless of course, you really want to]:
1) Cranberrys - obviously. The fresh bagged ones are best. Start with one bag unless you're making enough for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas (you can freeze it.)
2) The zest and juice of an orange... or two, or three.
3) Raisins - add some golden raisins in too if you've got 'em. A cup or two, or three if you really like raisins. Or, if they've been taking up cupboard space and you've been looking for something to do with them.
4) Ginger - A cup at least chopped; this is what makes this so good! You can very safely and easily skin ginger with a spoon and let the kids do it. Then you can either mince it fine, grate it with a microplane, or if you don't want any fibers - you can grate it up and then squeeze the juice into the mixture with your hands.
5) Apples, Pears, or both - unripe pears and firm apple varietals are best as they will hold up to the [potentially long] simmer.
Keep in mind that if it needs to be sweeter, add sugar. If it's too sweet, add lemon juice. And if it gets too thick on you, add some water - or as Jacques Pepin likes to call it, "Chateau Faucet." I love Jacques, he's an anomaly - he's French and he's funny. Keep it simple, just don't try and skimp on the ginger.
Here are some other add-ins that I am not a fan of:
- Walnuts and Pecans - I don't like the texture. Braised nuts? Who likes that? If I want fruit and nuts together, I'll grab some trail mix or make myself a PB+J.
- Spices; including Cinnamon, Clove, and Allspice - These spices are in nearly everything else on the table. They're in the stuffing, the pie, even the potpourri... keep them out of the cranberry sauce. Please.
- Apricots - they are an extra step and they fall apart and dissolve. When you're done, no one will even know they're there.
- Vinegar - Ew. Why? You've got enough acidity already.