Thursday, November 21, 2013

ARoW: Cranberry Sauce

Stop right where you are! Take your hand off the can opener. Set it on the counter and back away slowly.

You don’t need a can of cranberry sauce. Ever. EVER! You can make cranberry sauce yourself. Yes you can! You can turn on a stove, right? Okay, then.

If I could get more people to read these pages I would go on a personal crusade to eliminate canned cranberry sauce from the Thanksgiving vernacular. It’s so easy to make really good fresh cranberry sauce. The only problem is that it’s so different from the canned goo that you might have to explain what it is.

One year I offered to bring something for Thanksgiving dinner, and was not asked to bring the cranberry sauce (or the pumpkin pie; that sad, sad story is told here.) I never have let that happen again. If I’m coming to Thanksgiving dinner, I will say, “…and I’ll bring the cranberry sauce.” There is no further discussion.

I’ve always made this simple accompaniment with apple cider or orange juice, but I recently tried it with dry red wine and it was just as delicious. Apple cider tones down the bitter and sour cranberries. Orange juice accentuates the bright acidity. Dry red wine works with the cranberries’ bitterness. Even water makes good cranberry sauce. There will be no excuses. And as you get more comfortable with the recipe, you can even add other fruits and spices to the mix.

I love this stuff. It’s simple, delicious and takes no time or skill to make. You can make it ahead, even a few days, and store it in the refrigerator until a few hours before you need it (it’s best at room temperature). Trust me. The canned stuff is obsolete.

Cranberry Sauce
See? Just three ingredients. Easy, easy, easy!

1 12-ounce (340 g) package fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) flavorful liquid, such as apple cider, orange juice, red wine – or- water

1. Combine the cranberries, sugar and liquid in a medium-size saucepan. Stir together and cook over medium-high heat.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes more or until the cranberries have all burst and the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and cool. Serve at room temperature.

Makes about 2 ¼ cups.

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