Mark this year, 2015, as the year I finally came to appreciate cranberry sauce.
First of all, it's beautiful. What a marvelous way to add some stunning color to what might otherwise be a mostly brown and white plate of food. I wish I had a shirt that was this hue!
Secondly, it adds complexity to the meal. Sweet at first but smoothly transitioning into a tart finish, this stuff will cleanse all that rich gravy off of your palate and prepare your mouth for its next bite. Because you know there will be a next bite. Ad infinitum.
As it turns out, cranberry sauce is pretty crucial to Thanksgiving, though you wouldn't expect it. I know my plate(s) wouldn't be the same without it.
If they'll let me make this again for Christmas, I most definitely will! I've seen some recipes using red wine and others using cherry preserves and still others using more savory ingredients like rosemary. I believe I have some experimenting to do...
Goo of Cranberry and Orange
Makes about 2 cups
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 4 cups (1 12-ounce package) fresh or frozen cranberries
- Cinnamon or pieces of cinnamon stick
- Zest from one orange
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them, picking out the duds as you go.
Put the water, orange juice, sugars, all but 1/4 cup cranberries, and the cinnamon or cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the cranberries have burst.
Once the cranberries have burst, add the orange zest and remaining cranberries and season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick, if you used it.
Let cool completely at room temperature, taste and season again, then transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator. Note that the cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.