Three-Speed Dinners: Cooking with Cranberries

A delicious addition to pancakes, sautéed chicken, and stew, the time is right to enjoy cozy dishes featuring this tart fall favorite.
Published November 13, 2015

Cranberries offer a tart, red pop to so many dishes at this time of year, a last little spark of summery flavor before the cold weather sets in.

But cranberries are seasonal—exceptionally so. One of us clearly remembers a time many years ago when he wanted to make his family cranberry muffins on a February morning—and there wasn’t a cranberry to be found at any store. Talk about scarring! So solve the problem as he now does: stock up on bags of fresh cranberries when you see them in the produce section, then toss them right into your freezer. There’s no need to thaw the berries for most recipes. You’ll have a great supply for the winter ahead.

And you’ll want a good supply to make these dishes again and again. We love these tender pancakes for a holiday breakfast or brunch. And we’ve got an easy weeknight supper that uses cranberries and fresh ginger to pull workaday chicken breasts to new heights. Finally, we share one of our favorite slow cooker stews—it’s really a vegetable and cranberry stew that’s flavored with beef brisket (rather than the other way around). It’s a warming meal any night of the week.

By the way, you can’t chop a whole batch of cranberries very well. They roll all over the cutting board! Better (and safer) to use a paring knife and slice the smaller ones in half, the larger ones into thirds.

About the 20-Minute Cranberry Pancakes

These pancakes are so flavorful, so sweet, and so delicate that they’re terrific on their own without any further adornments. But if desired, add a little sugar-free maple-flavored pancake syrup, a little all-fruit spread, or even a little plain Greek yogurt to your stack.

Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the 40-Minute Chicken Breast Sauté with Cranberries and Ginger

Cranberries are the perfect addition to an easy skillet sauté. They add a pleasantly sharp zip to a pan sauce, a great contrast to more savory ingredients in the mix. Here, the cranberries combine with the ginger to make a sweet chutney-like relish/sauce, terrific with the chicken. If you substitute jarred ground nutmeg, use only 1/8 teaspoon.

Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the All-Day (Slow Cooker) Cranberry Brisket Stew

Here’s a one-pot meal (or a one-cooker meal, as the case might be) that’s made for a chilly evening as the days darken down to the holidays. The cranberries mellow quite a bit, creating a warming, sweet sauce that’s laced with wintry spices. The stew also freezes well. Divvy up leftovers into single-serving containers for lunches or quick dinners in the days ahead. Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.