Monday, November 23, 2009

Cranberries. So saucy.

Cranberry sauce is a highlight of the Thanksgiving meal.

Making it couldn't be simpler: with a basic recipe of 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and a 12 oz bag of cranberries, it basically makes itself.

The taste couldn't be better: tart and sweet, it moistens and enlivens every other Thanksgiving dish on the table. Great texture. Great deep ruby color. My toddler eats it by the spoonful. I do too, in private.

This year, my brave sister-in-law ("Queen Hospitality"), who just had her first baby, is hosting all 17 of my husband's immediately family members. Among other things, I'm bringing cranberry sauce. I will be making 3 batches. One standard recipe. Two with a little extra sparkle.

Do you have an excellent cranberry sauce recipe you'd be willing to share? Exotic, homey, or otherwise special.

I will make two of the suggested recipes, and my in-laws (including five sisters-in-law who are all lovely ladies, talented chefs, and connoiseurs of fine foods) will vote on a favorite. The winner and runner-up will receive by mail an Advent treat. I'll get your addresses when the results are in.

Thank you for helping to add extra zest to our Thanksgiving table! Happy Thanksgiving to all!!


B-Mama said...

Okay, here's one of my faves: 1 can cranberry sauce, 1 can opener, 1 plate. Open can; wiggle, jiggle out can-shaped cranberry "wonder"; slice and enjoy. lol.

Call me crazy, but I love it. :) Perhaps I need to venture out a bit? Kidding aside, JM, I think this is a great idea and hope you get some good recipes. I might just have to try yours!!

Juris Mater said...

B-mama, that's hilarious, I remember that from last year when we were posting about Thanksgiving recipes. Luckily for Ocean Spray, many like that congealed cylinder of flavor. Bon appetite to your segment of the population too, friend : )

Juris Mater said...

"Bon appetit" I mean... 12 years of classroom French instruction, there you have it.

Olivia D said...

Ditto B-Mama... when we were little my brother and i would eat it out of the can year round if we were allowed. I still make sure both kinds are served every Thanksgiving!

ChrisV said...

While I am not a huge fan of cranberry sauce, I thought this recipe turned out rather nice last year and I am making it again this year (it is from
4 c. fresh cranberries
1 1/2 c. water
5 whole cloves
5 whole allspice berries
3 cinnamon sticks
2 c. white sugar
Wrap the cloves, allspice and cinnamon in cheesecloth and add to the cranberries and water in a medium saucepan.Cook until berries begin to burst ( about 10 min.)_ Stir in sugar and reduce heat to low. Cook five more minutes, or until all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool; discard spicebag. Chill at least eight hours before serving.

Elizabeth M said...

This has become my favorite variation!

1 bag cranberries
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup (to 1 cup) sugar
1 cinnamon stick
piece of whole nutmeg (or a little fresh grated nutmeg).
Several slices of orange, peel and all

Combine all in nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a low boil then reduce heat to a simmer. You can stop cooking it after most of the berries have burst, but I like to keep it going longer and let some of the natural pectin thicken it more. I also like the smoother texture when it cooks longer.

This is a nice "tweak" on the standard and is nearly as easy. It's a little more mellow and the orange and spice work wonderfully with turkey!

Blessed Thanksgiving to all!


Right Said Red said...


My bet is that B-Mama will not be winning thase great Advent treats :-)

Kate E. said...

I made this one last year

I loved it because it doesn't even involve cooking! I added the sugar slowly and tasted a lot because I like it a bit tart. Really fresh and nice tasting, great alternative to the cooked varities (which I also love...but my version is quite similar to the one above with the oj).

I'm very thankful for this great blog, even though I'm not Catholic and disagree with you guys on a lot of issues there are so many more things that we can find common ground on. You provide a great space for debate, a great space to explore a lot of parenting issues and your all funny to boot!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Mary Alice said...

Here is another uncooked version. My sister in law brings it to thanksgiving every year, she made it in elementary school!

1 Bag of fresh cranberries (rinsed)
1 orange
1 cup of walnuts (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar

In a food processor, finely chop/mince the cranberries, then orange (do not peel the orange, include the rind – just remove the seeds) and walnuts. Mix all together in a large bowl and add sugar to taste. (I sometimes find that 1 cup of sugar is too much, so I would start with ½ cup and add more if you think it needs it – it depends on how tart the cranberries are). Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate.

Anonymous said...

JM, use your basic recipe, but add the juice of one or two limes (depending on how juicy they are). Gives it a bit of sparkle without being overpowering; when I worked in catering we did this a lot.

Chipotle-peach salsa from Walmart is really good on turkey, too!

The Nichols said...

Cranberries are definitely my favorite part of the meal! Here's a link to a recipe from a dinner blog/group my friends and I have: Happy Thanksgiving!

Kevin said...

I've tried this a twice and it is excellent. Cook a little longer than the recipe says until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens.

Kevin said...


Jennie said...


This is a very simple recipe from my Cranberry Cookbook (I also looove cranberries):
1/2 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/4 Cup Dry Red Wine (I use Trader Joe's Charles Shaw Cabernet- 2 buck chuck, can't go wrong)
4 Cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the red wine and cranberries. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve now, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

It's really easy. Enjoy!

Juris Mater said...

These look PHENOMENAL!!! I'm ready to eat spoonfuls now... only two more days. Thank you all SO MUCH.

The kitchen will be in full swing by tomorrow afternoon, so if there are any other suggestions, please pass them this way before then.

A question for you chefs: I don't have a food processor (apartment living and grad school budget can't accommodate all the kitchen necessities), but I do have a nice blender. I also have a knack for stripping my blender blade by trying to use it as a food processor. Oat bran. Almond bran. You know, testing the limits. Are the ingredients in these relishes too hard for a blender? Orange rind? Thinly-sliced almonds? Thank you!!

AWOL Mommy said...

Elizabeth, I made yours and it was the star of the meal. I am excited to make it a family tradition, thank you.

Elizabeth M said...

AWOL Mommy,

I'm so glad you liked it! It's my standby every Thanksgiving now.

Juris Mater said...


You all are the queens and kings of cranberry.

The winner is KATE E... Kate, I used your recipe, and did some improvising (including some brown sugar and vanilla extract, and no oranges) to make it more of a contrast with the runner up. The sweetness of this recipe was a good balance with the normal tartness of cranberry sauce. The walnuts were a lovely touch, they worked so nicely with the nutty flavors of the meal, like the sweet potato-pecan dish and the salad with some candied nuts that my sister in law made. Great dish! My in-laws devoured it, it was the first cranberry sauce to be finished, we all just kept going back for more. Hooray for antioxidants. Thank you, friend!!

The runner-up is Elizabeth M. Elizabeth, this recipe was my favorite, and I'll do it again in future years. First, it was my favorite to make. I loved juicing oranges to use fresh orange juice instead of water. I loved tossing in whole orange slices, and I loved how the rinds looked nestled in the cranberry sauce once it was cooked. A very festive appearance. And the cinnamon stick was a really special touch for my kids. We only use cinnamon sticks around this time of year, and it was fun for them to toss the whole stick in and watch it cook down and flavor the sauce, then to look for it among the cooked cranberries. My sisters in law thought the variety of flavors was overpowering (maybe I used too much nutmeg too), but as a major cranberry sauce and spice connoiseur, I preferred it. There's no other orange OR cinnamon in our families' typical Thanksgiving dishes, and orange and cinnamon always enliven my Christmas childhood memories. That's the other thing I liked about this sauce--it's a Thanksgiving dish that rings in Christmas. So great to make, and Christmasy (in a Thanksgiving way).

Thank you all for your contributions.

Kate and Elizabeth, send me your mailing addresses at! Happy Advent to all!!!