Cranberry Orange and Cilantro Salsa is the perfect complement to my Southwestern Achiote Butter Basted Turkey. Traditions vary but some type of cranberry sauce is essential for many families.
As kids we liked the jellied cranberry out of a can with our turkey. My mom also served whole cranberry sauce out of a can and as an adult that would be my choice if the two were served side by side. But sooner or later I was interested in making my own cranberry sauce, chutney, relish or salsa just because homemade presents so many possibilities.
Cranberry salsa is the obvious choice for the Southwestern Turkey Feast. Salsa literally means sauce but it can be fresh or cooked, chunky or smooth, hot or mild. It definitely does not refer only to the tomato-based sauce so many of us enjoy with nachos.
Chile Know How – Cranberry Orange and Cilantro Salsa
Chiles play a role in each dish of this menu. There are three types; fresh Anaheim in the Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing, plus fresh poblano and dried ancho in the ancho chile gravy. The Cranberry, Orange and Cilantro Salsa also has a fresh poblano chile.
The variety of chiles available at the grocery store is ever increasing. I am pleasantly surprised when I see beautiful, dark green poblano chiles in the produce section. To be sure you can choose the right chiles at the grocery store (I find the signs are not always correct) I recommend a quick Google image search to refresh your memory of exactly what each chile looks like. In my experience dried chiles are generally labelled correctly, the fresh ones not so much.
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From Everyday to Gourmet
This Cranberry, Orange and Cilantro Salsa has a bright, fresh taste from the addition of fresh orange juice and orange zest. Roasted hazelnuts in cranberry sauce is unusual but this unique combination works. However, to honour tradition I always serve canned cranberry sauce right beside this salsa.
For a gourmet presentation on a buffet I like to serve cranberry sauce in a martini glass. If I have a really big crowd I serve it in my oversized martini glass for a stand out look. Take a moment to think of any unique dishes you have and use them.
How does cranberry fit into your family traditions? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
More Recipes – The Turkey Feast
|1 red pepper|
|1 fresh poblano chile|
|1/2 cup sugar|
|1/4 cup orange juice|
|2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped|
|1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped|
|2 Tbsp grated orange zest|
|1/3 cup chopped cilantro|
- Char red pepper and poblano chile over a gas flame or under the broiler until black on all sides. Place into a plastic bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel blackened skin off, seed and chop.
- Put cranberries in a medium bowl.
- Combine sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Pour over cranberries.
- Add peppers, chile, hazelnuts and orange zest to salsa. Stir to combine. Can be made 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Tape a note to the container that says 'ADD 1/3 cup CILANTRO BEFORE SERVING'. Alternately lay waxed paper over the cranberry mixture in a container, put chopped cilantro on top of the paper.
- Before serving stir in cilantro.