• by Leah Mojer •
The sun sets early, and kids are back to school, the ocean is cooling back down to chilly temps, and the streets swirl with copper-tinged leaves – it’s a harsh realization that the cold temps are not far away. There is always about a week or so of pouting before I truly remember how wonderfully beautiful the Fall season is out here on the island. The crisp breeze, amazing cloud-filled sunsets, soup cravings, chunky sweaters. We welcome a whole new palate of colorful, hearty produce; squash, pumpkins, juicy apples, and of course Nantucket’s crown-jewel, cranberries.
The tradition and history of cranberry farming on-island dates back 200 years. Even now, we cultivate more than 230 acres cranberry bogs. It’s no secret our Cranberries are famous. Usually though, cranberries are relegated to the monotonous post of cranberry sauce and relish, or they play second-fiddle in sugar-laden quick bread. Here, we bring them to the spotlight in some new and unique recipes. Bring it on: I have my cranberries, and I am ready!
HERB-BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH CRANBERRIES & PEARL ONIONS
Nothing beats the smell of meat braising in the oven on a crisp, chilly day. The addition of cranberries here liven up the whole dish with a tangy depth of flavor
- 3 Lbs. Short Ribs
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3 T all-purpose flour
- 2 C chicken broth
- 1 C Red Wine, whatever you happen to be drinking
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 T molasses
- 1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries
- 2 medium Carrots, large dice
- 1 Bag (1 pound) Frozen Pearl Onions
- Fresh Herb Sprigs such as Rosemary & Thyme
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lowest position. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot until it’s screaming hot. You want to sear the short ribs on all sides until DEEPLY browned. Open a window, turn off the fire alarms – seriously, the dish will be so much better if you do this step. Once they are browned, set them aside, reserving the oil and browned bits in the pot.
- Turn down the heat to medium, and add flour to pot and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add broth, wine, bay leaf, herb sprigs, molasses, half the cranberries, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Return short ribs to pot, and cover. Transfer to oven; bake for 2 hours.
- Stir in onions and carrots; season, cover, and return pot to oven. Cook 30 minutes more. Stir in remaining cranberries; return pot to oven. Cook, uncovered, until short ribs are fork-tender, 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaf before serving.
Yes, it’s that easy. It’s a wonder we buy flavored booze when it’s so simple to make. Maybe it’s the month we have to wait for that martini that deters…
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 piece fresh lemon or orange peel (or both!)
- 1 750ml bottle nice Vodka like Tito’s
- In a small saucepan, heat cranberries, sugar, and water until the sugar dissolves, the liquid begins to turn a light-pink color, and the cranberries just begin to pop.
- Pour the cranberries and the liquid into a large glass jar; stir in peel and vodka. Cover, and let stand at room temperature at least 3 days or up to one month. The longer it sits, the better. Strain through cheesecloth. Enjoy!
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PANCETTA, CRANBERRIES & BALSAMIC GLAZE
Sweet, Salty, Tangy, Crispy. This dish has got all the components to seriouslywow your guests, and maybe even your kiddos!
- 3 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 1 C Pancetta, small dice
- 1/2 C olive oil
- 1/2 C sugar
- 3/4 C balsamic vinegar
- 1 C fresh cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Trim/clean the brussels sprouts, then cut them in half. Arrange on 2 baking sheets with pancetta and cranberries. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the olive oil. Roast until brown and pancetta is crispy, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and reduce until very thick. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the roasted sprouts.
- Watch your kids eat brussels sprouts.
- Pat yourself on the back.
CRANBERRY-MAPLE PUDDING CAKE
Put the words pudding and cake next to each other in a sentence and I’m smitten.
- 2 C fresh cranberries
- 1 C pure maple syrup
- 2/3 C heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 t finely grated orange peel
- Pinch plus 1/2 t salt
- 2/3 C all purpose flour
- 1/3 C yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 3 T sugar
- 1/2 C whole milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Crème fraîche, softly whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Combine first 4 ingredients and pinch of salt in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Whisk egg and sugar in another medium bowl. Whisk milk, melted butter, and vanilla into egg mixture. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; whisk to blend. Pour warm cranberry mixture into 11x7x2-inch or 8x8x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour batter over.
- Bake cake until golden and cranberry mixture bubbles at edges, about 28 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Serve cake warm topped with crème fraîche, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.