What kind of cranberry sauce did you grow up with? Did you even eat it? As we moved around the country I've discovered that it seems to be a much less important part of the Thanksgiving meal outside of New England.
Despite growing up in an area full of cranberry bogs (we used to ice skate on them every winter!) I was a die-hard canned cranberry sauce girl until a few years ago. I decided to try making it myself one year, but once I realized that making jellied cranberry sauce is a bit of a pain, I went the relish route. In fact, I discovered that you can use an immersion blender or food processor to get rid of the big chunks of berries. That makes it a whole lot easier to convert lovers of canned sauce. And children! My boys can't be the only ones who need to dissect every food that is even slightly chunky to determine what every bite contains.
The cranberry flavor shines through in this simple sauce. The ginger and orange complement the berries, and there is just enough sugar to tone down the tartness. I suggest tasting it as you cook so that you can be sure that the sweetness level is what you prefer. Initially I tried to eliminate the white sugar completely, but I realized you need just a little bit more than the brown sugar to get it right so I played around with the proportions to get it right.
As a bonus you can even make this the day before to help ease the cooking burden on the big day.
Are your menus all set? Turkey's defrosting?
Simple Cranberry Sauce
adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
1 bag cranberries 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tbsp white sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup water zest and juice of one orange (I used 2 clementines) 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp grated fresh ginger 1 cinnamon stick 1 star anise
Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes (stirring regularly) until all the cranberries have popped and started to break down. Taste it and adjust seasoning-especially the sugar. Add more white sugar if it's too tart, but one tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go. Once you have it the way you want it, set it aside to cool and thicken.