A Southern Grace: thanksgiving ninja

November 30, 2015

thanksgiving ninja


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
(printable recipe)
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.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great flavour combo! I love cranberry sauce.



Angie's Recipes said...

I am usually not a fan of sauce...but cranberry is different, I love it.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Grace,
I'm sitting here with a huge grin on my face:) Why? Well, after all of these years, I too have finally embraced the notion of actually enjoying cranberry sauce at the Thanksgiving table. I'm not sure about that canned stuff but, I "played" a little with fresh cranberries this year by adding cognac and baking them in the oven. My oh my, it worked to deliciousness!!!

I've been dying to try cranberries with a bit of a citrus tang. If I too am "allowed" to make them once again for Christmas, I may just need to keep your recipe handy. I'll be pinning it to my cranberry board for safe keeping:)

Thanks for sharing, Grace...I can just imagine this sauce on a nice turkey club sandwish; me oh my...

Food Gal said...

So true -- just like gravy, you have to have cranberry sauce. It's not Thanksgiving without both. Hope you had a wonderful and delicious holiday!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

I tried cranberries for the first time yesterday, and made them into a dessert. I think I like them! Tart little suckers, but I think I would like them sweetened up in your sauce. They are so plentiful around here, I am determined to like them!

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

OMG I think I forgot to take a scoop of cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving! Perhaps I'll have to join you then in experimenting with cranberry sauce recipes now (though I came around to believing in it a few years back)

Kate @ Framed Cooks said...

Cranberry sauce is the BEST! I always make sure I save some to put in a grilled cheese sandwich. :)

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

Looks delicious, Grace! I really appreciate a good homemade cranberry sauce with Thanksgiving (or really many other big meals like that). I often use orange, but sometimes persimmon.

Pam said...

I have always loved cranberry sauce with my turkey. After making it homemade for the first time several years ago, I was hooked. No more canned cranberries for me. It looks terrific Grace.

Marcelle said...

Beautiful pictures in this post! Yes, it's not Thanksgiving without the fresh cranberry sauce! Homemade is the only way to go! I use cranberries, orange zest and sugar. Brown sugar sure sounds like a delicious twist :)