Cranberry sauce is one of the most traditional side dishes for Thanksgiving, but it doesn't get much recognition more than something you always 'need' to have on the table and those hockey pucks that come from a can. In my house, it was something most of us at the table just kept on passing on and on.
Sure this won't be as easy as opening up a can of cranberry sauce and 'slicing' yourself a serving, but you'll get a tangy, sweet, fresh and delicious accompaniment to your turkey and trimmings. And it is easy! Who knows, you might never go back to the canned stuff!
This is for a traditional cranberry sauce but there are lots of other things you can try to mix in like red pepper flakes or jalapeno for a bit of heat; dried fruit for more sweetness; nuts for some crunch; or spices and ginger for depth of flavor. You can go really basic, too, and leave out the liqueur, orange and lemon juices and the orange peel.
If you're worried about getting that same consistency as the canned stuff, don't worry. Cranberry fruit contains pectin that is a natural thickener. This sauce can be made a few days in advance of your holiday dinner because the acidity of the cranberries will keep the sauce fresh.
1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
1 1/3 cups sugar
1-2 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup orange-flavoured liqueur or orange juice
In a nonreactive 4-quart saucepan, mix everything in the pot. **If you are using the liqueur, do not add this in until you are done cooking - alcohol + heat = fire, and that's not good right now**. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. You'll start to hear some of the cranberries pop after few minutes-kind of like popcorn. Cook about 10 minutes more until it looks like most of the cranberries are have popped and the sauce starts to thicken up. Turn off the heat from the stove top and add the liqueur if you choose to use it at this point. Refrigerate the sauce for about an hour, or until completely cooled, before serving.
|Orange zest to add to saucepan|
|Everything in the pan|
|Foamy as it cooks down|
|The finished sauce|