08 November 2012

Fresh Cranberry Sauce - The Jewel of the Autumn Table


Fresh cranberry sauce is the jewel of the autumn table. Even if it didn't taste better than canned, I'd prefer it just for its beauty. Besides, the canned whole berry sauce contains corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup--so no thanks--and always seems to be full of stems I feel compelled to laboriously pick out by hand.

Some people insist they prefer the jiggly jellied cranberry sauce that comes out of the can in one piece and is then sliced (traditionally, with the can lid). I don't think anyone really does think it's better, though. I think it's just one of those nostalgia things, and I of all people understand that. If that's what you grew up with, then that's what you want. So I like to serve both.

Cranberry sauce goes with any meat or poultry, especially rich ones like goose and duck. And, of course, it's classic with turkey. I love it on a turkey and dressing sandwich. (And, yes, I say "dressing" rather than "stuffing" for two reasons: 1. that nostalgia thing, and 2. I always bake it in a dish rather than inside the bird.)

Another cool thing about homemade cranberry sauce: People who don't make it have this crazy idea that it's a big deal. So you take 15 minutes to make this simple dish with half a dozen ingredients, and people think you're some kind of culinary genius. Gotta love that! Make it really easy on yourself and cook it a day or two ahead. It thickens as it cools. The sauce below was room temperature, and the firmer sauce above was slightly chilled.

(And make your turkey gravy ahead -- a month ahead, if you like -- with my Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Turkey Broth recipe.)

Where do you stand on the great cranberry sauce debate? (PS Be sure to come back next week to enter the giveaway of an essential kitchen tool.)


Cranberry Sauce

(Makes about 3 cups)

3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon mace, optional
1 12-ounce bag (3 cups) cranberries
1 medium orange, chopped


In 2-quart saucepan, dissolve sugar, salt and mace in water. Bring to boil; add cranberries (I used organic). Return to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in chopped orange and the juice that came out while you were chopping. Cool completely at room temperature. Chill. Serve in a pretty clear glass bowl.

36 comments:

Bonnie said...

I too love to make my own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. I also love it on pork. I am looking for a cranberry orange jam recipe. I would love to put up a few jars for the winter. Bonnie

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Yeah, it's so good with pork - especially the fatter cuts like shoulder. It's always fun to break out some jam in the middle of winter.

Cranberry Morning said...

I'll take cranberry sauce any way I can get it. :-) And that reminds me of the movie 'Shadowlands,' where Joy and her son Douglas have arrived to spend Christmas with him. Douglas wants cranberry sauce. So C.S. tells his housekeeper that they need cranberry sauce. She looks a bit flummoxed and says, 'Well, Mr. Lewis, you get me the cranberries and I'll sauce 'em.' :-) P.S. That is one of my all-time favorite movies!!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Judy, I assumed from the name of your blog that you're a cranberry fan. I'm not familiar with that movie; I'll have to check it out.

Jenn said...

When I was a kid, there was only that jiggly jellied stuff on the holiday table. After I moved to AZ was when I finally had homemade cranberry sauce and I was hooked... would never go back to the canned stuff again!!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Agreed! And I haven't looked at the label, but I'm sure it's made with corn syrup and HFCS.

Richard Sheppard said...

We don't always have turkey for thanksgiving but I love homemade cranberry sauce when we do. I'll have to point my wife to this recipe since she is the one who enjoys making it. I'll be dressing the turkey!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Richard, cranberry sauce isn't just for turkey anymore! Great with pork, ham, lots of things. I just eat it by itself.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Can never hear the word “cranberries” without thinking of the iconic band that did one of my favorite songs/music videos “Dreams.” Their original name was “The Cranberry Saw Us” – playing off “Cranberry Sauce.” And with that bit of useless information, may I say I love REAL cranberry sauce, as you’ve made it. And you’re absolutely right, it has to be chilled. Alas, if/when my lad, a.k.a. Sean/Shane/The Boy actually comes over for Thanksgiving dinner, he will only eat chicken. We call this Pseudo-Turkey. But chicken and cranberry sauce just highlight the drift from tradition, and I cannot do it… So, thank you for the vicarious reprise to that time in my life when turkey and REAL cranberry sauce added the delicate touch!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

When I just saw the words "cranberries" and "band," I thought I knew where it was going. But I didn't. I was thinking of The Traveling Wilburys! (My mind just sort of goes places ... what can I say?) About the lad: Haven't you told him turkey tastes like chicken?

Yenta Mary said...

So gorgeous, both in color and flavor! Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite parts of the holiday meal ... :)

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

I make it several times a year - don't need a holiday!

Southerner said...

Good one Jean. We have it with pork and it is always part of our Christmas dinner, alongside horseradish.Some English mustard goes down well too.


One of my favourite sauces, though, is parsley sauce. We tend to have it with a nice piece of bacon on Boxing Day.

Tony

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Tony. I haven't had parsley sauce since childhood, and it had fallen completely out of my memory! Must make some soon.

Angie's Recipes said...

Fresh cranberries are quite pricy over here..and I don't even know where to get the frozen one.
The sauce looks divine, Jean.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Angie. Maybe you could ask a store manager to order some for you?

Carole said...

Ok, I'm assuming you make this with fresh cranberries - which we can't get - do you think dried would work?

Hope you are having a good week.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Hi Carole - thanks! Yes, this is made with fresh (or frozen) cranberries. You can make a sauce with dried cranberries, but not this particular recipe. Perhaps the same ingredients, but a smaller measure of dried cranberries and a longer cooking time?

Colette said...

Definitely cranberry sauce made at home! I have a huge bag of cranberries ready for the task!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Colette, yes, I'm sure *you* would make homemade in order to avoid all the funny additives. Yikes!

Debra said...

I seriously don't think I have ever tried cranberry sauce. Somehow it has just never made it on my plate...

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Debra, really? Wait till you try it - you are going to be kicking yourself for missing out on it all these years! :)

Sippity Sup said...

Love the family jewels! GREG

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Greg! :)

Homeandfood said...

Urgh! I hate that jelly cranberry sauce stuff, my family always has it at Christmas and its horrid in my opinion. We spend all that time cooking up a beautiful home roast lunch, and then smear sugar jello rubbish on it.

THIS is what real cranberry sauce should be like.

Ive never tried it made like this, and will definitely be doing it this Christmas :)

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Hamilton! And please let me know how it goes over with your family!

Charles said...

Sigh, good old cranberry sauce. I always make some for our Christmas dinner to go with the turkey. I'm the only person who seems to like it :(. I like to add some orange zest and juice to the sauce as well - goes really well... even though I may as well not bother since everyone I know thinks cranberry sauce is weird :(

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Well, surely the Swedish people you know would see it as a reasonable stand-in for lingonberry sauce! But French people - never thought about it, but do most of them not like it?

Jen @ Blue Kitchen Bakes said...

I love homemade cranberry sauce, the shop bought versions are always too sweet for me. The colour of your sauce is beautiful, making me feel really festive now! Thanks for adding this to my cranberry recipe linky :)

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thank you, Jen!

Jade Jones said...

Fantastic! I've been meaning to make my own. I much prefer the whole berry sauce to the overly thick gelatin out of the can. I need to try this with my cranberry BBQ sauce recipe!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Jade, thank you -- especially for leaving a comment on an older post (sometimes people just don't!). Once you make this sauce, you'll *never* go back to the canned sauce, I'm sure!

Michelle Nahom said...

I can't stand the canned stuff. Even as a kid I didn't like it. No nostalgia there for me. I'll take homemade every time! This looks delicious, Jean! Thanks for sharing it with us at Foodie Fridays!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Michelle! Happy to help people get away from the canned with corn syrup sauce!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

I always make my own cranberry sauce and you and I make it almost the same way although I have never used the mace. Sounds good though. The really nice thing about your own cranberry sauce is that it makes plenty and I also use it for making Cranberry squares. Nothing better than home made, is there? Merry Christmas, Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sandi. I'd be willing to stir up a batch just for those cranberry squares! I must try them soon. Hope you're having a delightful December!

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