Cranberry & Red Onion Relish

Cranberries are so festive they are a must at any Xmas table

Today I am mixing up the traditional Cranberry Sauce by caramelising red onions in balsamic vinegar to make a relish instead. I tend to put a lid on the cranberry pan, whilst they are cooking, as the berries do tend to pop and splatter!

For a step by step visual guide, follow the link for my episode, 'In a Pickle!.'

Ingredients (makes about 900g/2lb)

450g/1lb small red onions

30ml/ 2 tbsp olive oil

225g/8oz soft light brown sugar

450g/1lb fresh or frozen cranberries

120ml/4fl oz red wine vinegar

120ml/4fl oz red wine

15ml/1 tbsp mustard seeds

2.5ml/ half tsp ground ginger

30ml/2 tbsp orange liqueur or port

1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

Salt and ground pepper


  1. Halve the red onions and slice them very thinly. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook them over a very low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened. Add 30ml/ 2 tbsp of the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the onions are caramelised.

  2. Meanwhile, put the cranberries in a pan with the remaining sugar, and the vinegar, red wine, mustard seeds and ginger. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then cover and bring to the boil.

  3. Simmer the relish mixture for 12-15minutes, until the berries burst and are tender, then stir in the caramelised onions.

  4. Increase the heat slightly and cook uncovered for a further 10 minutes, stirring the mixture frequently until it is well reduced and thickened. Remove the pan from the heat, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Transfer the relish to warmed sterilised jars. Spoon a little of the orange liqueur or port over the top of each, then cover and seal. Store in a cool place for up to 6 months. Store in the refrigerator once opened and use within 1 month.

Recipe taken from 'The Complete Book of Preserves & Pickles' by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mayhew


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