It’s time to begin some Thanksgiving posts. Turkey, stuffing… some of these great things have already been covered, and I will compile them all by the end. But one that seems to get ‘lost’ is always the cranberry sauce. How easy is it to open an Oceanspray can of cranberry jelly and move on? And how delicious is that? I love Oceanspray cranberry jelly. Cranberries are incredible. Tart, sweet, New England through and through, tough to cook, but sooo good when done right.
It is my opinion that when cranberries are cooked, they can be extremely tart, overly sweet, and have either the consistency of mush or sort of a sloppy chutney. I will be the first to admit, they’re tough to cook. So rule 1: Keep it Simple!!! Do not try to mix in nuts, apples, all kinds of spices, seasonings, puree them, strain them, blanch them, and so on. In fact, with the exception of a few critical steps, less is better.
This is my version of cranberry sauce, and it’s more like a cranberry compote. It’s thick, robust, well balanced, and has the consistency of chunky apple sauce.
Prep time: 1 minute
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
1 package fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 large navel orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch kosher salt
Place all the cranberries in the bowl of a food processor. Process as fine as possible. Put the cranberries in a small heavy bottom sauce pot and add sugar and cinnamon stick. Cut the orange in half and squeeze all the juice into the pot. Add water until almost covered, but not quite. Add the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and cook until very thick.
Let cool slightly and serve right away.
A little apple cider will also work well in this. The key is to cook slowly, making sure not to burn the bottom.