Thistle and Thyme’s cranberry relish

Photos and story by Claire McArthur

As one who spends all day in the kitchen on any given T-Day, it’s hard to imagine, well, relaxing on Thanksgiving. But the way Thistle and Thyme does Turkey Day, the idea of sitting back and indulging in classics with creative twists sounds like an excellent change of pace.

Thistle & Thyme puts together a decadent buffet for the holiday, but no plate would be complete without a hearty helping of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and broccolini, drizzled in gravy and accented with a delightfully complex cranberry relish.

In fact, according to executive chef Matt Tauszik, it’s the cranberry relish that really brings this dish to life.

“We start by reducing a local apple cider from Santaquin, Utah, with ingredients like fresh ginger, shallots, thyme, sage, bay leaf, Madagascar vanilla extract, orange zest and juice, salt and pink peppercorns,” Tauszik says.

When the mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency, he adds in most of the cranberries — reserving some whole to add at the end for texture—and the brown sugar. The cranberries are cooked down until soft, then blended.

“It’s a lot more complex than your standard cranberry sauce,” Tauszik says. “If you try it, you get the tartness of the cranberries balanced out with the sweetness of the brown sugar and the apple cider.”

But the ingredient that Tauszik credits for really elevating the dish is the Madagascar vanilla extract.

“When it hits you, it hits you on the back end and creeps up on you,” he says.“One of the things that we always strive to do in our cooking here—our culinary philosophy—is we try to incorporate ingredients that are going to be very subtle but leave the guest wondering, ‘What was that?’ It’s different and unique, and they can’t quite place what it is.”

Thistle & Thyme

Marriott University Park Salt Lake City
480 Wakara Way, SLC
Grand Thanksgiving Buffet, open Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Cranberry Relish

1 tablespoon shallot, minced
3 sage leaves
5 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon pink peppercorn
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 quart Rowley’s Red Barn
apple cider
4 cups cranberries
1 tablespoon Madagascar vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Salt to taste

Combine apple cider, shallot, sage, thyme, bay leaf, orange zest and juice, pink peppercorn, Madagascar vanilla and fresh ginger. Bring to a simmer and reduce by ¾. Strain out solids and return to heat.
Combine brown sugar and ¾ of cranberry and cook until cranberries soften. Blend.
Stir in remaining cranberries and season to taste with salt.

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