I know it’s odd to post Thanksgiving recipes on Thanksgiving, when most people have already prepped for and cooked their meals. BUT. Some people haven’t and may need some delicious new (and easy! and fast!) ideas, and besides, how could I write about any other food today??
About 5 years ago, I was asked to bring cranberry sauce to our Thanksgiving dinner. In my own family, my grandmother always made a cranberry mold. It was made in a bundt pan and included nuts and some other stuff, and as a kid I couldn’t make any sense of it, and I decided I hated it and cranberries as a rule. In my husband’s family, they’d either had the canned cranberry sauce or none. So I wasn’t quite sure what to do or where to begin, but I got excited about figuring out how to make it from scratch. Even though I grew up in Massachusetts, I had never cooked a cranberry in my life! So I started researching. I recalled my Grandma’s mold with the stuff in it and decided to play with that idea and incorporate something else into a fresh cranberry sauce. I have a weird thing with nuts and don’t like them in other foods – only plain on their own, so I decided to try fruit, playing off the tartness of a cranberry (though I’d rarely eaten them to this point). My first combination was cranberry + red grapes (this is a good one – try it!). Once I got over the thrill of cranberries popping as they cook (they are seriously the most fun thing ever to cook!), I was also totally stoked to discover that cranberry sauce is easy and fast to make, and so so so delicious! Cranberries are awesome – who knew?!
Since then, I’ve been in charge of the fresh cranberry sauce every year, and I love it! I’ve made it a bunch of different ways, but this preparation I made last year is my mother in-law’s favorite, to date, so I repeated it this year for her. It could not be simpler, or tastier. The clementines add a delicate sweetness that allows you to use less sugar, and the texture combination is perfection. And while you can make it up to two days ahead, you can also wait, like me, for Thanksgiving morning, and start your holiday with the sweet sounds of popping cranberries! Here you go.
WHAT YOU NEED
(serves about 8… but go ahead and double it, just in case!)
* 1lb bag cranberries
* 1/2-3/4C sugar
* 1/2C clementine juice (from 4-5 clementines; you can also use orange juice)
* zest of 1-2 clementines
* 4 clementines, peeled and segmented
WHAT TO DO
Combine everything but the clementine segments with 1/4C of water in a pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes until all the cranberries burst, stirring occasionally to mix it all together. They’ll start popping as soon as the simmer picks up – and it’s delightful. Pause and enjoy it.
Add the clementine segments directly to the pot and mix through. Cook another 5 minutes or so, then remove from heat and let cool before transferring to a storage or serving dish. Refrigerate until serving (serve cold or room temp). See?? So. Easy. So. Delicious. (scroll down for recipe card image)