November 4, 2011

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish

This week, I ate pomegranate arils for the first time. I know...where have I been? Not under a rock, I assure you. I've known about pomegranates for a very long time. I've just not been intrigued enough to try them. Until now. Earlier this week, I noticed a huge bin of these pretty red orbs at my grocery store. Attached to the bin were small brochures by POM Wonderful with illustrated instructions on how to properly open a pomegranate to remove the delicious arils. I had seen some great tutorials before on other food blogs, so I wasn't completely clueless on how to open this delicious fruit. Still, it was nice to be able to see step-by-step instructions to refresh my memory.

The first thing that struck me as I began to open the pomegranate is how pretty they are. Beautifully rotund with smooth skin and adorned with a miniature crown. The inside was even more spectacular, with all the arils fitted snugly in each of their chambers. They are definitely a photogenic fruit as you can see. 

Pomegranates are not the easiest fruit to open since removing the arils takes some effort, but I promise it's worth it. I actually found it meditative to stand at my counter and slowly coax each aril from the white membrane and plunk them into a bowl of cool water. I did a little tasting as I went along, too--cook's privilege! 

I decided to change the back-of-the-bag cranberry relish recipe I always make this time of year to include pomegranate. Cranberries and pomegranate are hardly a new flavor combination,  but if you've never tried the two together before, you're sure to be delighted. This is a great recipe to try out for your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. It's fast and easy to make and the best part is that it can be made a day or two in advance. I simply substituted all the water in the recipe with pomegranate juice and then mixed in the fresh arils at the end--the rest of the recipe remains the same. I loved the results! The pomegranate juice made the relish turn a deep shade of garnet and added just a hint of sweetness. The fresh cranberries contributed their signature tartness. Sugar balanced out all the flavors so that the end result was just a touch sweeter. The gemlike arils looked so pretty suspended in the relish after they were mixed in, and they also added contrasting texture to the jammy relish, since arils have a small crunch when you bite into them. 

While everyone is making pumpkin recipes this season {and for the record, I still adore pumpkin}, I have a lot of lost time to make up for now that I've finally discovered pomegranates. I'm certain that cooking with them is going to be delicious, just like this relish.

Disclaimer: This post is not a paid advertisement for POM Wonderful or Ocean Spray. I simply like their products and find their quality to be excellent.
 

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish
Adapted from Ocean Spray {back-of-the-bag recipe}

If you buy multiple bags of fresh cranberries and freeze them {like I do}, there is no need to defrost the cranberries before making this relish. Simply add a few more minutes to the cooking time. The relish will be thin in consistency once it is finished cooking, but is still every bit as delicious to enjoy the day it is made {just cool it to room temperature first}. However, it will thicken considerably after it is refrigerated.

1 12oz. bag fresh cranberries
1 cup 100% pomegranate juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate arils {optional}

Place the cranberries, pomegranate juice and sugar in a sacucepan large enough to accomodate all the ingredients. Turn the heat on to medium-low and stir the ingredeints to incoporate and dissolve the sugar. Cover the saucepan partially with a lid {I do this because once the cranberries start to cook down, they will begin spurting their juices}. Bring the mixure to a gentle boil and stir occasionally until the mixture is reduced slightly and the cranberries have cooked down and softened, about 30 minutes. Transfer the relish to a heat-safe bowl and cool completely to room temperature before serving or refrigerating. If refrigerating, bring the relish back to room temperature before serving.

Comments (1)

Cranberry jelly is the best part of my leftover turkey sand and I can only imagine the splash o yum the POM juice adds to the flavor. And they are just so darn purdy to look at too. Glad you've been de-pomegranateized.

11/07/11
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