Cranberry relish is a staple of the Thanksgiving table, and for good reason.  It's tart bite makes a great counterpoint to all the rich, fatty foods that grace the holiday table.  It awakens the palate and brings a vibrant freshness to what can be a heavy meal.

Cranberry relish comes in all different forms and flavors, from the canned jellied stuff (that is the guilty pleasure of so many of us) to ground berries only slightly sweetened to  thick, cloying sauces and the inevitable jello mold.  No matter how it is served, I am a firm believer that it belongs on every thanksgiving table.  And if you are one of those people that claim to not like cranberry relish it is only because you haven't found one that you like yet. 

The cranberries in this chutney are tempered by dried cherries, helping to mellow out their tart, cranberry kick. The recipe is given a very subtle exotic accent by the addition of coriander and green cardamon. If you can’t find green cardamon pods then you can use ground cardamon or even skip it all together although I like the faint Indian flare it gives this chutney. This relish would pair perfectly with duck, goose, turkey, pork and lamb.

Cranberry and Dried Cherry Chutney
serves 8-10

6 pods green cardamon
1 tsp. whole coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 cup dried cherries, cut in half
1/4 cup crystallilzed ginger, chopped

Lightly crush the cardamon pods and remove the seeds, discarding the outer pod. Finely grind the cardamon and coriander together then add the ground cinnamon. Reserve. In a medium sized pot heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and spice mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes to toast the spices. Add the cranberries, sugar and orange juice. Bring to a boil and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the cranberries start to break down. Add the dried cherries and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the crystallized ginger, cook 1 minute then remove from heat. Allow to cool and store in the fridge. While it is ready to eat as soon as it is cool, the flavors will more fully develop and meld if allowed to sit overnight, in the fridge.