A while ago I mentioned that I was dealing with a death in the family, but what I didn't mention was that it was my mom. She passed away this past August from cancer.
We run a potluck Thanksgiving dinner, and my mom always brought the cranberry relish. My mom didn't enjoy cooking, but loved good food and she had a few favorite dishes that she always made and that I will always associate with her. This relish is one of them. It's evolved over the past few years, becoming actually simpler. And I post it today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, as a remembrance.
Last night a good friend of hers called and we talked a bit. She told me how the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving my mom would make the relish. I had already been agonizing over the relish. I couldn't find her recipe, which was itself based on my aunt's grandmother's recipe! I talked to my aunt and got that recipe, and was confident that I knew all my mom's modifications.
This morning, knowing that my mom was already looking down from above and shaking her head because that relish should have been made Tuesday night, I made the last minute decision to make the relish right then even if it meant being late for work. When I looked at the cranberry-orange ratio, I began to have doubts. The original called for 1.5 C cranberries and 1 whole orange. That seemed like a paltry amount of cranberries, so I went with 12 oz cranberries to one orange and reduced the amount of sugar (which my mom would have approved of).
Since this uses the whole orange, including the peel, I highly recommend buying organic oranges. Also, the sugar pulls a lot of liquid out of the fruit, but if you do this relish a day or two in advance, a lot of the liquid will soak back up into the fruit.
And I'm still undecided on the orange. Maybe I should have added a second orange... Well, let's call this the beta recreation:
Mary Jo's Cranberry Relish
Mary Jo Leutheuser
recreated by Kitchen Chick (as best as I can guess)
12 oz fresh cranberries (1 bag, or approx 3.5 cups)
1 orange, chopped with large seeds removed.
Sugar to taste (I used 3/4 Cup)
8 oz crushed pineapple, well drained
Wash cranberries. You can put them in a clean kitchen towel and gently shake/roll them to get them mostly dry. Wash orange and chop into large pieces. Remove the large seeds.
In food processor, process cranberries and oranges until well chopped, but not a puree. Drain if watery. Add sugar. Mix. Add drained pineapple and mix. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
Before serving, drain off excess liquid if desired or serve with slotted spoon.