But some dishes I like to tweak and experiment with include appetizers, the essential cranberry sauce and all the fall inspired desserts. So I thought I'd start with this cranberry chutney which I began making last year in place of plain cranberry sauce (which I still adore but sometimes a girl needs a little extra oomph). This is a great make-ahead recipe that's full of flavor and can have some texture depending on how thick you like to dice your apples.
Use apples that can withstand cooking a little better and not turn to mush: I'd say Gala, Rome, Jonagold or Winesap are your best bets. Also, freshly grated orange zest and juice as well as freshly grated ginger are key ... and if you're feeling adventurous, add some ground clove for a truly flavorful chutney that can not only serve as a worthy accompaniment to your turkey, but pair well with roasted pork loin, grilled pork chops and make an amazing addition to any sandwich.
Cranberry Apple Chutney
Makes 6 to 8 accompaniment servings
2 pounds of apples (about 4 large)
2 medium onions, thickly sliced
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
2 cups fresh cranberries (I purchase fresh cranberries and freeze them for future use, then thaw before using)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve, and core apples (and if you prefer, peel them as well although I leave them unpeeled) then cut into 1-inch cubes. In a bowl combine the apples with the orange zest, orange juice, sugar, ginger, mustard and butter and stir lightly to coat. Place the mixture in a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes. Stir the apple mixture a few times during baking.
Stir in the cranberries and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer until the cranberries are soft and the chutney thick. You can make the chutney a couple of days in advance; just bring it to room temperature or warm it ever so slightly before serving with your roast turkey. Try it with roasted chicken or pork; better yet add it to a sandwich or wrap using leftover chicken or turkey breast ... trust me, you won't be disappointed.