Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Tradition
10:19 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

A 'Splendid Table' Set With Mama Stamberg's Relish

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 5:40 am

Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table is a show for people who love to eat. Every week, on many public radio stations, Lynne and guests give recipes, history lessons and background on various edibles. And on Thanksgiving Day, she does a live two-hour call-in show, helping listeners with the Big Meal. Sometimes Lynne gets desperate callers — but she seems able to calm them down.

"We save just about anything," Kasper says. "I'm not saying it's always the greatest save, but we give it a shot"

Kasper is fearless! My favorite part of her weekly taped show is a feature she calls "Stump the Cook." (The Car Talk guys do "Stump the Chumps," but Lynne has better manners.) Here's how her "Stump the Cook" works:

"You call in with five things that you have in your fridge, and I have to come up with a dish that you would actually want to make," she explains.

From an energy drink, tofu, apple butter, smoked trout and jalapenos, Kasper recommended a smoked trout bastardized version of a pâté. Easy!

So! Let's play Stump the Cook: What if, hypothetically, someone just happened to have on hand at home: some raw cranberries, a small onion, some sour cream and some sugar. What would you do?

(Loyal Morning Edition listeners might already know the answer to this. For the past 437 years, I've managed to sneak the family recipe for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish onto this radio program. You know — the recipe that sounds terrible but tastes terrific. And it looks great, too: with its signature, Pepto-Bismol pink hue.)

But Kasper is onto me. Here's her recipe:

"Well, considering that there is the famous Susan Stamberg cranberries ... " Kasper says, in addition to raw cranberries, a small onion, sour cream and sugar, "I would be throwing in a ton of garlic, I'd be sautéing the you-know-what out of the garlic and the onions ... I'd throw in those raw cranberries and the sugar. Then, I would add a lot of fresh ginger, and I would add a whack of chili to this."

Then Kasper says she'd cook it until the cranberries were ruby red and the sauce felt nice and lush. And her serving suggestion? "Serve this as like a little taste at the beginning of the meal in espresso cups with a dollop of sour cream. You don't want it folded in, you'll lose the impact — you want each thing to stand out and salute to you."

It sounds fantastic, but we're missing the signature, secret ingredient: horseradish.

Kasper is unfazed. "If you want to add horseradish, you add horseradish," she says.


Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

This relish has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It's also good on next-day turkey sandwiches and with roast beef.

Makes 1 1/2 pints

Ingredients

2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed

1 small onion

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar ("red is a bit milder than white")

Instructions

Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," Stamberg says. "I'm sure there's a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind, not a puree.")

Add everything else and mix.

Put in a plastic container and freeze.

Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")

The relish will be thick, creamy and shocking pink. ("OK, Pepto-Bismol pink.")


Another Favorite Recipe

Here's a little something extra — my truly favorite cranberry side dish. It's from Madhur Jaffrey's Cookbook: Easy East/West Menus for Family and Friends.

Garlicky Cranberry Chutney

1-inch fresh ginger

3 cloves finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1-pound can cranberry sauce with berries

1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)

Ground black pepper

1. Cut ginger into paper-thin slices, stack them together and cut into really thin slivers.

2. Combine ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small pot. Bring to a simmer; simmer on medium flame about 15 minutes or until there are about 4 tablespoons liquid left.

3. Add can of cranberry sauce, salt and pepper. Mix and bring to a simmer. Lumps are OK. Simmer on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes.

Cool, store and refrigerate. It will keep for several days, if you don't finish it ALL after first taste!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

OK, next week, we head into the heavy eating season; holidays ahead with all the butter, salt, cream, pie crust - the four basic food groups. The Internet is full of recipes; entire cable channels are devoted to preparing food. And radio is no slouch in the calorie department, either. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg has a favorite radio program to which she tunes for food.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: It's "The Splendid Table." Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper calls it the show for people who love to eat.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

STAMBERG: Every week on many of these public radio stations, Lynne and guests give recipes, history lessons, background on various edibles. And on Thanksgiving Day, she bites the bullet - or the drumstick - and she does a live, two-hour, call-in show; helping listeners with the big meal. Sometimes, Lynne gets desperate callers, but she seems able to calm them down.

LYNNE ROSSETTO KASPER: We save just about anything. I'm not saying it's always the greatest save, but we give it a shot.

STAMBERG: Lynne Rossetto Kasper is fearless. My favorite part of her weekly, taped show is a feature she calls "Stump the Cook." The car guys do "Stump the Chumps," but Lynne has better manners. Here's how her "Stump the Cook" works:

KASPER: You call in, with five things that you have in your fridge. And I have to come up with a dish that you would actually want to make. Now, I get some freebies; I get water, salt, pepper, some kind of fat.

STAMBERG: I pulled out a few of my favorite stumpers...

KASPER: Oh, my.

STAMBERG: One had to do with - someone called in and had on hand an energy drink, tofu, apple butter, smoked trout and jalapenos. Now, you added butter and onion, and here was your idea.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE SPLENDID TABLE")

KASPER: We're going to do a smoked trout - bastardized version of a pate. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: (LAUGHTER)

KASPER: And you're going to take the energy drink and puree it into this mousse - because no one will know it's there. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: (LAUGHTER)

STAMBERG: Lynn, that's nuts.

(LAUGHTER)

KASPER: But - no, but I think what I remember doing is, if you moosh it up; and you give it enough good-tasting fat, right? And...

STAMBERG: Oh, yeah.

KASPER: ...you spike it with something acidic, which I - probably was the energy drink; you can usually make something pretty tasty.

STAMBERG: OK. Here was another one. This one combines cabbage, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, membrillo - I had to look that up; that's a quince paste...

KASPER: Right, right.

STAMBERG: ...and a big hunk of prosciutto. Here's what you said.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE SPLENDID TABLE")

KASPER: Drizzle the juice of the pomegranate over the cabbage. And you're going to sprinkle all of that dice - of that prosciutto, over the sweet potatoes; and this gets served, really, as a main dish.

STAMBERG: I want to play "Stump the Cook" with you. You game?

KASPER: Uh - all right. OK.

STAMBERG: On hand at home...

KASPER: Right...

STAMBERG: I have the following things: some raw cranberries, a small onion...

KASPER: Uh-huh...

STAMBERG: ...I have some sour cream, and some sugar. What would you do?

KASPER: Aaaah. (LAUGHTER) Anything that...

STAMBERG: OK, dear MORNING EDITION listeners, I confess. I am trying - for the 437th year in a row - to sneak the family recipe for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish onto this radio program. You know, the family recipe that sounds terrible but tastes terrific, and looks good, too - shocking pink. All right, Pepto-Bismol pink. But uh-oh, I think Lynne Rossetto Kasper is on to me.

KASPER: Well, considering that there is the famous Susan Stamberg cranberries...

STAMBERG: (LAUGHTER)

KASPER: ...I would add - you know, obviously, you know what I would do, if I were you...

STAMBERG: (LAUGHTER)

KASPER: I would be throwing in a ton of garlic. I'd be sauteing the you-know-what out of the garlic and the onions.

STAMBERG: No.

KASPER: I'd throw in those raw cranberries and the sugar. Then, I would add a lot of fresh ginger, and I would add a whack of chili to this.

STAMBERG: Oooooh....

KASPER: And then I would cook that until you get the pop of the cranberries. And once you've got that beautiful ruby red, and it's lush-looking, then I would serve this as like, a little taste at the beginning of the meal; in espresso cups, with a dollop of sour cream - you don't want it folded in; you'll lose the impact. You want each thing to stand out and salute to you.

STAMBERG: Well, that sounds just fantastic - except I forgot to tell you a very important ingredient of mine, which is horseradish. But I suspect that would not change your combination in any way.

KASPER: If you want to add horseradish, you add horseradish.

(LAUGHTER)

STAMBERG: You know, I think I'm going to. But before I do, I'm going to thank you. Lynne Rossetto Kasper - she's host of public radio's "The Splendid Table." A very Happy Thanksgiving to you, Lynne.

KASPER: And to you, Susan.

STAMBERG: And to all our listeners. I'm Susan Stamberg, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

KASPER: We're going to grow this recipe between the two of us.

STAMBERG: (LAUGHTER) You betcha. I love what you did. OK.

KASPER: Well, next year, we'll do an Italian version.

STAMBERG: Meatballs and cranberries - I love it.

KASPER: You've got it.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: You can find both those recipes at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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