California Eatin'

Thanksgiving Day Cranberry. Easy Cranberry Sauce: Served Three Ways.

Fall | November 21, 2015 | By

If your still looking for something to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner or fretting over cranberries… fret no longer!  Every holiday season I volunteer to bring the cranberry sauce.  I do this first because I don’t want any perfectly smooth and overly sweet canned cranberry sauce and secondly because fresh sauce is super easy to make.  Although in the past, I  have experimented with adding spices like cinnamon and star anise, today I keep mine simple. 

cranberry close up

This recipe makes 3-1/2 pint jars and can be made a week ahead of time and kept refrigerated.  

I made three variations to the prepared recipe below.  The first jar I left plain, to the next I added a peeled and chopped mandarin, and to the last jar I added chopped toasted pecans and chopped orange segments.  I plan to serve the plain and the orange cranberry sauces at the thanksgiving dinner table and the pecan orange sauce is going over a warmed brie cheese wheel as an appetizer.

cranberry

Ingredients: 

Whole, fresh, brilliantly red, plump cranberries

Juice and Peel from one Orange

Granulated sugar

and Yes it really is that simple!

Easy Cranberry Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 2-12oz bags fresh cranberries
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar (more or less to taste)
  3. 1 orange zested and then juiced
Mandarin Option
  1. 1 mandarin
Orange Nut Option
  1. 1 Orange
  2. 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest. Cook over medium-low heat stirring frequently. Cranberries will start to pop and sugar will dissolve. Lower heat and maintain at a low simmer. The cranberry sauce will become thick and spit a little so be careful. When the sauce is thick and falls in clumps it is done or around 10-15 minutes.
For the Mandarin variation
  1. Peel and course chop the mandarin and fold into one of the jars of prepared cranberry sauce.
For the Orange Pecan variation
  1. Peel and chop the orange and fold along with the pecans into one jar of the prepared cranberry sauce.
Notes
  1. I go with the less sugar to yield a sweet and tart flavor. Feel free to check on the sweetness of your sauce half way through the cooking process. Remove some sauce and allow it to cool and taste it. If it is not sweet enough for you add some more sugar and finish cooking.
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