Spicy cranberry chutney is a great addition to Thanksgiving dinner and other holiday meals. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

Lots of us are planning a very different Thanksgiving than we usually have.

I plan to do a turkey, a smallish one if I can find it, because I adore turkey leftovers. I can happily eat turkey sandwiches at breakfast and lunch for days; make turkey and gravy casserole with stuffing on top for dinner; and cheerfully anticipate turkey soup afterward, some of which I’ll freeze for early December lunches.

And I’ll make mashed potatoes, and probably cook up a butternut squash because the leftovers of that will produce another lovely soup or two — one being a favorite curried squash with coconut milk. I see no reason not to make at least one pie because the four of us will put a large dent in it on Thanksgiving Day, and in the New England tradition of pie for breakfast, we’ll clean it up the next day. We’ll relish the basic elements of the traditional meal, just scaled down a little.

So what else do we need? There ought to be cranberries. I don’t want bowls full of cranberry relish sitting around for days, though a quick boil-up of a cup of berries and sugar will provide a simple sauce for the big day. Cranberry chutney, on the other hand, will grace our table, and with extra put up in canning jars, enhance several other meals for months to come. Good with chicken, vegetable curries, pork, ham and even spread on goat cheese as a quick appetizer on crackers, chutney is very useful stuff.

This version, chock full of raisins, onion, apples and spices, goes together very quickly and easily. I doubled the recipe and have enough to give as Christmas gifts as well as providing a treat from the pantry this winter.

Cranberry Chutney

Yields three pints

1 pound of cranberries, fresh or frozen

1 cup white sugar

1/2 packed cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup (about a quarter pound) golden raisins

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 cup water

2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib of celery, chopped

Combine the cranberries, white and brown sugars, raisins, all the spices and water in a large uncovered sauce pan.

Over a medium heat, bring to a boil and cook until the berries pop.

Reduce the heat and add the apples, onions and celery. Simmer all together uncovered for a half to three quarters of an hour, or until the apples are soft, stirring occasionally and adding a little water as needed to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan. Test for thickness by placing a small spoonful on a plate and tipping it. If a clear liquid dribbles out, cook a little longer.

When thick enough, spoon into clean, sterilized jars, put on lids and rings, and process in boiling water bath for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...