Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, NPR fans ask Susan Stamberg for her mother-in-law’s recipe for cranberry relish (served here with turkey and sweet potatoes). Stamberg’s reading of the recipe has become a holiday broadcast tradition; this year, she shares the tradition with All Things Considered weekend host Steve Inskeep, on the Nov. 23 broadcast. Get your own copy of the cranberry relish recipe (plus a “bonus recipe” from Stamberg). Then email NPR your own favorite ways of serving or adapting the relish recipe, and your suggestions may be shared on the air and online.
NPR logo Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe

Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe

Correspondent Shares Her Holiday Classic, Plus Another Favorite

All Things Considered audio

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"Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish" served with traditional accompaniments of turkey and sweet potatoes. Dan Mitchell, NPR Online hide caption

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Dan Mitchell, NPR Online

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, fans ask NPR's Susan Stamberg for her mother-in-law's recipe for cranberry relish. It’s a recipe that she has read on the air every year since 1971 -– and here, in Stamberg's own words, is how she came by it:

"At the first Thanksgiving of my married life, in Allentown, Pa., my mother-in-law, Marjorie Stamberg, served a fabulous and fascinating cranberry relish. I asked for the recipe, which she kindly provided. I put the recipe for 'Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish' on the air every year a few weeks before Thanksgiving, first at WAMU-FM, the local public radio station where I did my earliest air work, and later at NPR for the immediate nation to enjoy."

(Years after she had begun sharing it, Stamberg learned the recipe had been clipped from the New York Times by her mother-in-law's sister-in-law Marie Salinger. When, on the air, Stamberg told Times food editor Craig Claiborne about mis-attributing his recipe to her mother-in-law, Claiborne said, "I've gotten more mileage out of that recipe through NPR than I have since it was first published in the Times in 1959!")

This year, Stamberg shares the relish tradition with NPR's Steve Inskeep, All Things Considered weekend host, on the program's Nov. 23 broadcast.

Here, with Stamberg's footnotes, offers two recipes –- the on-air classic, and another dish that Stamberg confesses is her "truly favorite cranberry side dish."

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

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")

Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," says Stamberg. "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. It 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.


Garlicky Cranberry Chutney

Susan Stamberg calls this recipe "my truly favorite cranberry side dish." It's from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook East/West Menus for Family and Friends (Harper & Row, 1987).

1-inch piece fresh ginger

3 cloves finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

l-pound can cranberry sauce with berries

1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)

ground black pepper

Cut ginger into paperthin slices, stack them together and cut into really thin slivers.

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 four tablespoons of liquid left.

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!")