While chef Paul Wahlberg has fond childhood memories of enjoying jellied cranberry sauce at holidays spent with the Wahlberg brood, he crafted this more elevated take on the dish for today’s holiday table. “The Granny Smith apples build on the sweet-tart profile of the cranberries,” says Wahlberg, owner of the Hingham restaurants Alma Nove and Wahlburgers. “Combined with the bright flavor of oranges, the chutney’s tangy jam-like quality makes it an excellent alternative to traditional cranberry sauce and it’s one of my favorites.”
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 pounds fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
1 orange, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
Caramelize the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Let the sugar dissolve in the water until it turns a light mahogany color. Do not stir.
Add the cranberries, thyme, orange and apple pieces, taking care not to splatter the hot caramel. Don’t worry if the caramel seizes; as the citrus and cranberries heat, the caramel will melt into it. Cook for 5-8 minutes to soften the fruit. Season the chutney with salt, black pepper and red pepper. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to use.