Cranberry Sauce Doesn’t Come From a Can
And It’s Laughably Easy to Make from Scratch
HEY YOU, Thanksgiving chef. Yes, you–you know who you are. You’ve been cooking up a storm since Tuesday evening, haven’t you? You’ve been battling with yourself and your loved ones for days: stuffing cooked in the bird, or apart?
Soon enough you’ll be painstakingly roasting that prize turkey, taking its temperature and basting it every 27.5 minutes. Your carefully dotted marshmallows will ooze over the sweet potatoes you roasted, mashed, and whipped. Your green beans will have been steamed and blanched to a remarkable viridian hue. The unbelievable flakiness of your new pie crust (2011’s major innovation?) will win you accolades for years to come.
And yet–after all this effort–minutes before the meal you will reach for that can opener and you’ll plop out the perfunctory cylinder of crimson red gel that is unfacetiously referred to as cranberry sauce.
What is up with that?
So many good excuses, I know. You’re tired. You’ve worked so hard! You’re not perfect (nobody is). Besides, nobody eats the stuff, anyway. There’s too much other food.
Don’t be silly. There is an amazing opportunity here! Approximately 5 minutes of your attention will yield something that is dramatically more delicious, dramatically healthier, and (perhaps most importantly, on this occasion) far more impressive–enlightening, even–to your guests and relatives.
So go, now–send that canberry gel packing back into shelf stability. Make this cranberry sauce instead. I promise you will be happy with this decision.
Recipe: Cranberry Sauce
1 (12 oz) package cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 (10 oz) package raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup brown sugar
4-5 whole cloves (optional)
zest of 1 orange
pinch of salt
Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries are popped (10-15 minutes). Taste to check for sweetness and add more sugar or acid if needed. The sauce will thicken as it cools. May serve hot or cold.
Note: This recipe will make a loose, compote-like sauce. If you like it thicker (more gel-like, if you will) dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch in a little of the red wine before the first step.
A Post-Thanksgiving Bonus:
Cranberry sauce is an indispensable accoutrement to the Thanksgiving table–which is why you’re making it today, yes?–but I think it should be given wider consideration. The sauce is not only a delicious accompaniment to almost any meat dish and a great spread for sandwiches, it is also wonderful as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.
See? Cranberry sauce: Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! Seriously, I’ve been putting some in my yogurt for the last several mornings, and my AM happiness has increased dramatically. Cranberry sauce is my jam. (OK, I’ll stop now.)