It’s the last day of our Thanksgiving Recap and I have a small confession to make: before this year I’ve never even had any kind of cranberry sauce before. We’ve always had it at our Thanksgiving Dinner in the past, it’s just that we had usually got the stuff that came in a can- you know, those gelatinous disc things? Well, those are the reason that I was never felt particularly motivated to try cranberry sauce. Whenever it came my way, I immediately passed it right on down the table without so much as taking even a little bit.
Now guys, beware. I’m about to go on a mini-rant. Maybe you’re a fan of canned cranberry sauce. Maybe your family is like mine and always serve it at Thanksgiving. That’s fine. I don’t want to step on your toes. You’re free to disagree with me. This is just my humble opinion talking here. Then again, since you’re reading my blog, that means you’re entitled to it.
To me, canned cranberry sauce looks just disgusting. Really. I don’t understand how anyone can be motivated to eat that stuff. I mean, it’s called a SAUCE. How can something with the consistency of jello, be called a sauce? Guys,when you take it out of the can, it stands up all.on.its.own! How does that not make you want to hurl? Not only that, have you ever looked at the ingredients in that stuff? High fructose corn syrup is right there at the top of the list, along with who knows what else. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who screen nutrition labels like a hawk. I don’t call foods out as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. I just don’t believe in that. But if I’m gonna eat something that does have HFC in it, I want it to at least LOOK appetizing to me. If cranberry sauce looks like anything to me, I say it looks like some kind of wacky science experiment from Bill Nye the Science Guy, but definitely not something I’m supposed to want to put in my mouth. Blegh.
Okay. Rant over. I’m cool now. Moving right along. For many years, I shunned cranberry sauce completely, but last and this year were somewhat different. I saw a lot of recipes on other blogs and in magazines featuring sandwiches made from Thanksgiving leftovers with turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. I thought that they looked pretty good, and really wanted to try one…there was just the matter of that friggin canned cranberry sauce.
I was NOT going to use it. Nope. Wasn’t gonna happen.
However, there still remained the option of making my own…
Well, I never can turn down a challenge, so I went recipe a-hunting. One of the most popular ones for cranberry sauce that I found came from Ree Drummond, aka, The Pioneer Woman. It sounded pretty easy as well as tasty so I went ahead and saved it. Bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, when everyone else was still fast asleep and I was preparing to roast the turkeys, I also threw this together on the stove top.
Holy schnapps, guys. It was a really, really, REALLY tasty!
It only took a lick off my fingertip for me to find out that I actually LOVE homemade cranberry sauce! The maple syrup gives the sauce an autumn, harvest-y flavor, while the citrus from the orange was a further enhancement to the tartness of the cranberries. It also made my kitchen smell really good. And best of all, the sauce is actually a SAUCE- meaning it doesn’t stand up on it’s own. It was a perfect sweet-element to complement the savory-ness of the turkey, gravy, and dressing. The combination of all those flavors may sound weird, but trust me: they WORK. I’m thrilled that I went ahead and made this. It was so worth it.
Moral of the story: canned cranberry sauce sucks. Homemade cranberry sauce is awesome. It must be a (pre)Christmas miracle… or something.
Recipe Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION
*One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
*1 cup cranberry juice
*1 cup pure maple syrup
*3 tablespoons orange juice
*1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1. Wash the bag of cranberries under cool water, and then throw them into a medium saucepan. Pour in the cranberry juice and maple syrup.
2. Add the orange juice and orange rind (you could also do lemon rind and lemon juice – anything citrusy). Stir together and turn the heat on high until it reaches a boil and the berries begin to pop.
3. Turn down the heat to medium-low and continue cooking over the lower heat until the juice is thick, about 10 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat. Allow to cool, and then chill in the fridge until Thanksgiving dinner is ready. It should have a nice jelly-like consistency.