I thought it would be a nice way to break things up here during the holiday break by sharing a recipe. No, I don’t have the “ultimate” Brown Betty, nor do I possess a zesty, low-cal, Paleo and Atkins-blessed boneless, skinless chicken recipe (you’re on your own, hippie). But I do have something that I zapped up on the fly a few years ago for a Thanksgiving dinner party, and it’s been requested over and over again. It’s now part and parcel of the holidays that Uncle Paul’s Cranberry Maple Dressing hits the tables, hours before our collective bellies do. It is quite simple to make. I mentioned it in my last post, and I had a few people ask about the recipe, so since I had to make another batch anyways, I decided to scrawl out some measurements. I don’t normally write anything down, as I tend to eye things, but it’s not a bad idea to keep a few things jotted down to share.
What’s important with this vinaigrette is to make sure that the cranberry mixture is cooled before making the vinaigrette, or it may break (split). Also make sure to add the oil slowly at first, and then in a steady stream after that. Again, it’s to ensure an emulsified finish. There is nothing wrong with a vinaigrette that is split, by the way! Just make sure to shake it well to mix before serving or tossing with salad.
A few things to play with:
1) If you want, you can add walnut or hazelnut oil in small amounts to give it a nutty aroma and flavour (about 10% of the oil required in the recipe). Keep any walnut or hazelnut oil in the fridge, as it can go rancid.
2) Use mixed berries, or peaches or any thick puree fruit in place of the cranberries. Frozen fruits are great for this kind of thing and require no peeling, chopping, etc.
3) You can reduce the amount of sugar in the cranberry mix to make it more tart / less sweet. Use honey or agave instead sugar if you would like. This is a bit of a sweet-ish vinaigrette, so feel free to adjust.
4) This dressing holds up well to strong foods like cheese, nuts, meats (think shredded duck, chicken), etc. in salads.
5) Use cider vinegar if the idea of anything with the word “wine” causes alarm. But know that there is no alcohol in white, red or rice wine vinegars. Or minute, trace amounts at worst.
6) Feel free to add a bit more oil. I like my vinaigrette in the French style, which is 2:1 oil to vinegar. North Americans tend to like 3:1. Use your palate on this one.
Cranberry Maple Vinaigrette
Makes approx. 1 litre
2 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar
1 orange, juice of
1 orange, zest of
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (or use honey)
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat and reduce to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the cranberries start to cook down. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.
2. Puree mixture with immersion blender until smooth. You can leave it a little bit chunky if you want. Cool mix completely.
3. In stainless steel bowl, add 4 tbsp of the cranberry mixture (you will have leftover – throw the rest in a turkey sandwich or something, or mix it with cream cheese, etc.), the Dijon mustard, the maple syrup and the vinegar. Whisk to combine.
4. In a slow, steady stream, add the oil while whisking. Season with salt and pepper.
You can refrigerate for several weeks.
Enjoy and have a happy holiday season!