Not Your Mother's Cranberry Sauce

While I have nothing against a traditional Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, I often find a little oomph missing –– that extra layer of flavor or kick of heat, which has you licking the spoon. Enter this chutney. Chutneys are compotes of sweet and savory fruit, spices and herbs, resulting in a well-rounded mouthful that pops in the mouth. But don't worry – this recipe is not heavily weighed down by too many spices, so the humble cranberry shines through, which of course, is a requisite for any Thanksgiving dinner.

Cranberry Fig Chutney

This chutney is versatile. Serve it as a condiment for pork, poultry and game. It's also a great accompaniment to cheese; try dabbing a little on crostini with soft goat cheese or blue cheese. Makes about 2 cups.


  • 18 dried black mission figs, quartered

  • 2/3 cup ruby port wine

  • 12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger 

  • Juice and zest from
  • 1/2 orange

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 (2-inch) rosemary sprig


  1. Place the figs in a small bowl. Pour the port wine over the figs and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the cranberries and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Add the figs and port wine, the ginger, orange juice and zest, pepper, salt, and rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the cranberries burst and the chutney has thickened, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Discard the rosemary sprig.
(The chutney may be made up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving.)