Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cranberry, Orange and Beet Salad (make it ahead in the slow cooker)

Making cranberry sauce in the slow cooker? The house smells terrific and you've got the stove free to make yet another side dish. Adding oranges, beets, and a kick of ginger? Lovely. Thanks to Alanna and her reader Karen for the inspiration.

I'm trying to squeeze the Thanksgiving side dish recipes in as fast as I can, along with some suppers to tide you over and use up your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) turnips ahem goodies, like beets. I've been tossing beets into all sorts of savory meals lately. Beetza (my friend Dave's name for the Roasted Beet and Arugula Pizza) and Beetloaf (which isn't up on the blog yet) to name a few. However, the sweetness of a locally-grown beet really shines in something like cranberry sauce. I've got experience with this--last year I shared an alphabetical Apple/Apricot, Beet and Cranberry Sauce.
I typically roast the farm share beets before I have a plan for them. Scrub a bunch of beets, place them in a foil packet with a splash of olive oil, slide the packet onto a baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for an hour or until the packet 'gives' when you squeeze it. Sometimes gigantic beets can take nearly 2 hrs, but 1 hr is a good time to check. Let the packet cool, the slip the skins off the beets and chop to the size you desire.
Six ingredients--so simple!
Free time to play in the kitchen seems to shrink like the amount of daylight, so any time I can throw a pile of ingredients into my slow cooker and let it do the work for me I'm happy. When I read Alanna's Homemade Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce for the Slow Cooker I was inspired. Cranberry + Orange is a great combo. Beet + Orange is another great combo, like in my friend Meghan's Beet Mimosa. The idea that I could add beets without turning the whole dish a naturally unnatural color [ahem, like the Beetza or Beetloaf] was a big draw. Cranberry + Orange + Beets for the win!

I've got a little 1.5 qt slow cooker which is perfect for this application. It's also perfect for heating up leftovers while I'm ferrying kids around, so I recommend this size appliance as more than a 'one note' space waster.  Something like this Slow Cooker (Amazon affiliate link) with an added Keep Warm function, works great for soup or sloppy joes and holds enough to feed our family.

I struggled with the idea of naming this a sauce. It's not really sauce-like. Come to think of it, neither is cranberry sauce. It's really more of a guideline salad. When I looked up the definition of salad I read about a cold concoction of vegetables, fruit, and/or meat.  I figured that definition applies to this dish, so I'm calling it a salad.

If you've got beets, consider throwing some of them into this salad. It keeps for a week in the fridge, and although the execution was a failure, the concept of adding it to a rolled pizza as shown at the bottom of the post [come! Look at my failures!] is a good one. For other recipes using beets, please see my Beet Recipe Collection.

Cranberry, Orange and Beet Salad

12 ounces cranberries (can be thawed from frozen)
2 cups chopped roasted beets (see above)
1 orange
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon ginger paste

Rinse the cranberries and toss the odd-looking ones that aren't plump and smooth. In a large bowl [because trying this directly in my slow cooker resulted in a huge mess] combine cranberries and beets. Zest the orange over the bowl, then peel, seed and chop the flesh. Add the orange flesh to the bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Transfer to a 1.5 quart slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2½ hours, giving it a few stirs during that time so you can breathe in the wonderful smell. Chill before serving. Makes 4 cups.
A failure--turkey, cranberry and brie rolled pizza.
This post is shared on What's Cookin' WednesdayClever Chicks Blog HopMotivation MondaySimple Supper TuesdayTasty Tuesdays


  1. Aren’t you so very creative?!!! I remember one year when I did a ginger cranberry relish with frozen cranberries -- and by accident, just cuz I ran out of time, right before serving. It was so frosty and wonderful! So I’m lovin’ this combination, beets + cranberry + ginger. A win!

    1. Alanna,
      Thanks for the inspiration! I can understand running out of time--3 days before Thanksgiving here and I'm still waffling over my grocery list! The turkey, rolls, and a bunch of veggies are coming from the farm share Tuesday night and I can go from there.
      Mom asked for a cranberry sauce that starts w/ a can of whole berry sauce and is then doctored up, so I think I'm going to try that this year.

  2. Anytime I can use the Crockpot I'm pleased. In fact, I'm hoping to bust out at least one on Sunday for some chili.

    Thanks for sharing my Mimosa. I still have fond memories of that drink. I need to recreate it sometime.

    1. Meghan,
      My spouse wants me to leave a crock pot at his work, possibly over the weekend. I'm kinda having palpitations, but I still have . . . well, 3 others at home. Oy. I need an intervention.