Quince & Ginger Cranberry Sauce

The basic cranberry sauce I posted earlier is sweet, delicate and polite. This variation is punchy and peppery.

Here’s the variant on the basic sauce recipe:

Quince & Ginger Cranberry Sauce

1/2 orange
2 cups water
1 quince, preferably a tart variety
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2-inch fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
3 tablespoons sour quince syrup or jelly*

* Substitute any tart jelly or perhaps try pomegranate juice or a sour plum jam if you don’t have quince jelly. The idea behind this sauce was to create a sweet, peppery accompaniment to the richer, darker heritage birds we tend to have at Thanksgiving. I happened to have the sour quince jelly left over from a Thanksgiving dessert; whatever’s sour and at hand will likely be just as interesting.

This one's brighter and a softer set than basic cranberry sauce

Squeeze the juice from the orange half and set the juice aside. Remove the membrane from the inside of the orange shell and discard. Cut the shell into small dice. Put into a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Peel, quarter, and core the quince, then chop into small pieces. Make a simple syrup from 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar. Add quince and cinnamon stick to syrup and cook gently for 30 minutes, or until the quince is tender and a pale pink. Let sit for a further 30 minutes.

Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the quince along with the reserved diced orange peel, the reserved orange juice, cardamom and powdered ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the cranberries have burst, 10-15 minutes.

Grate peeled ginger root on a ginger grater or the finest blades of a cheese grater or Microplane. Brush ginger flesh gratings into the sauce, then squeeze juice from the remaining ginger root directly into the sauce. There should be 2-3 teaspoons juice. Stir well, add quince jelly or substitute and hazelnut oil.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 3.5-4 cups

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