Dinner at my grandmas was always a blast, she was so hospitable and generous, I miss those times so much. My brother and I used to fight over who would get to season the gravy..to be honest, I still don’t quite know how she made the gravy so good. My grandma would set the table, often with mismatching glasses, put the vegetables in the microwave to steam, open up the box of stove top stuffing, and rub the pork roast down with seasoning salt. It was glorious and simple. If she didn’t make her delicious apple sauce (which I also regret not learning how she made) then she would open up a can of cranberry sauce. I can still hear the *slurp* when she would flip the can upside down into the bowl, the sauce still staying in shape, and seeing the creases from the can indented on the sauce. She would take a spoon and smush it down into the bowl, often breaking the sauce up into big gelatinous chunks of who knows what’s in there, and more importantly, breaking my little heart as I realized I wasn’t going to be getting her apple sauce, but instead this canned crap that was in no way made with love. It was served with love, just not made with it. I hated it. I wouldn’t eat it.
Fast forward a few years of me avoiding cranberry sauce like the plague, to giving cranberry sauce a second chance and making it on my own. Almost as easy as opening up the can, but no comparison in taste! Once you make cranberry sauce, guarantee you’ll never be able to listen to the *slurp* of the canned stuff again without thinking “I could’ve made this way better”. Yes you’ll have to wash a pot after you’re done, but that’s a small price to pay for how delicious it is, and how much wiggle room for flavours that you now hold in your cranberry stained wooden spoon.
I wondered to myself “why doesn’t everyone just always make this from scratch? It’s so easy!”
I’ve often tripled or quadrupled my recipe, made it for a family dinner, and then my darling mother would take the leftovers and seal it in jars (she does amazing canning), and BAM we have delicious homeade cranberry sauce at our disposal. Everyone associates it only with turkey, but I used up the last jar a couple months ago to glaze venison meatballs. Last night I had some leftover cranberries from when I made cranberry white chocolate muffins the other night. I have guests coming over this weekend and wanted preserves to serve with brie cheese and baguette, so I figured, hey cranberry sauce would be great! So rewind to last night, home from the office at 5:30 and cranberry sauce on the stove by 5:35. The kitchen smelled like cranberry, orange and sage. It was amazing. I did stain one of my wooden spoons though, so now I have a dedicated “anything red” spoon, so just be aware of that.
So easy. You put the cranberries, liquid and seasoning in your pot and you let it boil until the cranberries burst open, and the sauce has reduced to a beautiful thick, jammy and saucy concotion of glory. Give it a few minutes for all those flavours to get cozy with each other and snuggle up. You can go so many ways with it, last night I used cinnamon and sage, but a sprig of rosemary is DELICIOUS, and dill is really good too! If you like it sweeter, you can add more sugar or vice versa. If you use storebought orange juice, I would suggest using less sugar because the juice is already pretty sweet. In the recipe below that’s me using fresh squeeze orange juice. Also, you can omit the cointreau/triple sec, but I think it adds some pizzaz and adults it up a bit, but whatever turns your crank. This stuff gets better after it sits, so it’s a great make ahead dish – I made it last night (Wednesday) and it was yummy, I packed it up and put ‘er in the fridge and it will be just as yummy on the weekend! I can’t wait to spread this good stuff over some brie!
Cranberry sauce, it’s not just for turkey anymore! Time to get rid of the *slurp*, and make room to hear the *pop* of fresh cranberries cooking on the stove!
- 1 1/2 cups cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 orange juice (fresh or store bought)
- 1/2 cup sugar (more if you want it sweeter, less if you want it tarter or you used storebought orange juice, this is to your taste)
- Zest from one orange
- Cinnamon stick (or pinch of cinnamon)
- Any add-ins, i.e. – fresh sage, dill or rosemary*optional*
- Splash of cointreau or triple sec *optional, but recommended*
Add cranberries, water, orange juice, orange zest, sugar, cinnamon stick, any herbs to a medium size pot.
Bring to a boil and let simmer, stirring frequently. Stir in splash of cointreau or triple sec if you choose.
Continue to let simmer, until most of the cranberries have popped, and sauce has reduced to a thick, glossy jam like-sauce. Let cool for 30 minutes to let the sauce set. Remove cinnamon stick and any stems from herbs.
Serve with a twist of orange rind.
Can be made several days ahead and stored in the fridge. Seal any extras in jars to be used whenever you want!