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N. African Thanksgiving

November 14, 2009

I am not a big fan of turkey but I am a big fan of how it brings everyone together at one table to enjoy food, wine and the beginning of the holiday season. I am always trying to find new ways to bring my turkey to new heights. I am really excited about my new creation. Via the use of harissa (my beloved paste of chile, tomato, caraway, cumin, coriander and garlic) to buy a tube) this cranberry sauce goes from the usual sweet/tart sauce to an exotic but familiar taste of another country. harissa cranberry w turkeyWhen I took a bite I got that up front familiar sweet/sour cranberry flavor but then my mouth was filled with the deepest flavor of toasted cumin, earthy, aromatic caraway, a touch of chile and then the cleansing finish of fresh mint. None of the spices stole the show but all worked together to create one new flavor. The sauce tasted like something that must have taken hours but it was so simple to do. Enjoy!

N. African Cranberry Sauce
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon harissa puree
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons mint, fresh, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
Rinse the cranberries and toss any that are shriveled or don’t look nice.

In a medium size pot combine the cranberries, water, sugar, harissa and cumin. Bring to a boil, turn to low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes or until the berries fall apart and you have a slightly chunky, saucy consistency.

Stir in the chopped mint and the salt.

Taste the sauce. If you like it sweeter add the honey. If you like it with more heat you can add more harissa. This sauce will keep nicely for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes
You can use canned or frozen cranberries. If the sauce is too liquid simmer until you have a saucy consistency.

Harissa can be found on-line or in most ethnic food stores. It comes in a tube or a small can. It is a wonderfully flavorful condiment of N. Africa usually made up of tomato, chiles, caraway, coriander, cumin and garlic. It can vary in ingredients and level of heat so taste it before you start cooking.

Serve hot with turkey. You can puree it in a food processor if you want it very saucy and smooth.

Use it as a spread on turkey sandwiches.

Use it with cream cheese on crackers or thinly toasted bread.

It is tasty cold or hot.

Serves: 8. Preparation Time is 05 minutes. Cooking Time is 30 minutes.

Key Flavor Factors:
1. Cover the pot and turn to low once it comes to a boil. This way you trap the heat and steam and the berries will burst and create a sauce without losing the liquid to evaporation.
2. Play with the harissa and honey quantities to find the balance you enjoy. I like adding a little more harissa for the heat.
3. Use a large spoon to smash the berries occasionally while it is simmering.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicki Harris permalink
    November 14, 2009 9:32 am

    I had the pleasure of tasting this last night and better yet Jeffrey demo’d it. I will be off to Surfas to buy some Harissa. It was delicious and one my first thoughts was I will be making this for our lunches. My husband and I brown bag our lunches and we often use cranberry as a spread. This will add a new co-star to the repretoire of lunches. Thanks again Jeffrey; you are officially bookmarked.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      November 16, 2009 3:03 pm

      Thank you Nicki, It was great to have you there. Take care.

  2. LizAndrsn permalink
    November 14, 2009 3:21 pm

    Jeffrey –
    The Surfas site says it is down for 2 weeks. Would you have another source? My one-horse-town doesn’t carry it locally, and the shipping from is insane.
    This sauce certainly sounds like a better alternative to the wobbly jelled cranbery sauce most folks serve. Thank you for sharing!


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      November 16, 2009 3:06 pm

      Hello Liz, go to . They have it and their shipping is reasonable. Let me know how it turns out. Enjoy and thanks for following the blog. Happy Holidays.

  3. November 16, 2009 12:00 pm

    I tasted this cranberry sauce over the weekend at one of Jeffrey’s cooking demos, and it was really unusual. I particularly liked the combination of the cranberries and mint. I’m making it for our holiday this year. Thanks Jeffrey!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      November 16, 2009 3:02 pm

      Thank you Erika, it was great to meet you.

  4. Bright Light permalink
    November 16, 2009 12:43 pm

    Sounds great. By the way – nice quality photo to accompany the recipe!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      November 16, 2009 3:04 pm

      Thank you Bright Light. I have been working on lighting and my wife has been tweaking the camera. I am glad it shows. Happy Holidays!

  5. Nicki Harris permalink
    November 25, 2009 8:30 pm

    I found a good on-line source for Harissa as well since my local Surfas was out.

    The Frenchy Bee

    They have $5 flat rate shipping no matter how large your order and the Harissa is on sale. Three 5.3 oz tubes for $8.90 I bought 6 tubes so I could share a few with my foody friends.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      December 1, 2009 10:38 am

      Aweseom Nicki, thanks!

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