Adventures in the Kitchen with Cranberry Relish

As a long-time NPR listener, every Thanksgiving I heard about “Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish,” and this year was no exception. Stamberg made it with her granddaughter, and her verdict was, “I’m never tasting it again.”

I’ve never made it, I’ve never had it (I think I’d remember a cranberry relish made with onion and horseradish), and, maybe because I had cranberries on the mind thanks to an Atlantic article on the decline in American cranberry consumption, I decided I’d make it for myself. The recipe was ridiculously simple — five ingredients (four of which I already had at home), grind, mix, and freeze. Plus, I had a blender I’d never used. The stage was set!

And so it was that last night, after work, I ground the raw cranberries (the ingredient I didn’t have) and the onion (which I did) in my blender, then mixed the result with sour cream, sugar, and horseradish. (Why do I have a jar of horseradish in my refrigerator? Because, sometimes, you really need to open up the sinuses, and an easy way to do that is to take half a teaspoon straight.) Then, I needed a container in which to freeze. A decorative candle jar which I had cleaned and scrubbed was close at hand, and then it was done.

Was it “thick, creamy and shocking pink,” as Stamberg wrote, a “Pepto-Bismol pink”? Absolutely. Yes, Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish is strange looking.

The proof was in taking a spoon to what I’d poured in the jar before I froze it.

Wow. That was amazing stuff.

The horseradish and onion makes a nice counterpoint to the cranberry and the sugar. I’m not sure what I’m going to use this for or how I’m going to use it, but it’s really quite good. It has some nice “pop,” and that came through even today when I took a spoonful of the still frozen cranberry relish.

To be honest, I could see myself eating this on its own, straight from the jar. :)

I’m not sure this will become a Thanksgiving tradition, but for this year, I’m glad I have it.

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