I’ll admit, I don’t tend to waste space on my Thanksgiving dinner plate for cranberry sauce. However, it’s a must-make side dish for the next day; I must have a good layer of cranberry sauce on any turkey sandwiches following the big dinner.
I’ll also admit that the canned stuff creeps me out. I think it’s the way that it holds the shape of the can that seems very unnatural and not food-like.
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The good thing is that cranberry sauce is probably the easiest Thanksgiving side dish to make. It takes about 10-minutes to pull together and you can make it many days ahead. Making your own cranberry sauce also allows you to customize it however you like.
Instead of just a flat flavored jam from a can, you can add some extra pizzazz in the form of aromatics during the cooking phase. I like to add star anise, a cinnamon stick, and some orange peel; some slices of fresh ginger would also be great. And maybe add a couple of cloves if you’re into that sort of thing. But, adding some combination of aromatics guarantees a cranberry sauce with some extra depth of flavor that you won’t get by just opening a can.
And be creative with the leftover sauce. It would be great on pancakes or in oatmeal; or even just on buttered toast. I’ve never tried it, but I feel like it would make a great topping for vanilla ice cream, too. Hmmm, maybe I should stock up on cranberries to make sauce all year long?!
Video: Cranberry Sauce 2-Minute Tutorial
Cranberry Sauce with with Warm Spices and Orange Zest
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 slices orange peel
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- In a medium pot, add all of the ingredients. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Lower the temperature slightly to a hard simmer. Let simmer for about 10 minutes until most of the cranberries burst and the sauce gets thick.
- Remove from heat. Remove the aromatics from the cranberry sauce and discard.
- Store cranberry sauce in an air tight container and cool down in the refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will be good for about a week.
- Feel free to make this recipe your own by adding your own favorite aromatics. I think a few slices of ginger would be nice or a couple of cloves. Lemon peel might be tasty too!
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