Sweet-and-Tart Cranberry Sauce

We’re counting down to Thanksgiving in the ol’ U.S.A. and, in case you haven’t yet finalized your menu, here’s a quick and delicious twist on a traditional turkey garnish: Sweet-and-Tart Cranberry Sauce.

My mother loves cranberry sauce with her turkey but she never makes it; she just dumps it out of a container and calls it good. You know what I’m talking about: A plum, gelatinous mass plops onto a plate, molded exactly like the can it came out of.

I’m guessing the tacky garnish is meant to distract from the cranberry sauce.

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to make fun of Mom’s canned cranberry sauce. Eventually she got tired of us commenting on it every Thanksgiving and started hiding it under her chair, where it belonged. When she wanted more, she’d bend down and sneak out a gelatinous forkful. True story.

Cranberry lovers, hide in shame no more! This weekend I rocked the church potluck with this awesome little accompaniment – and I don’t even like cranberries. The tartness of the cranberry typically throws me off, but with some sugar and orange juice, it was delicious. Both relish lovers and sauce lovers will be happy with this one, as it combines both of those cranberry incarnations into one.

Sweet-and-Tart Cranberry Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit

2 12-ounce bags fresh cranberries, divided
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh orange peel

I cut this recipe in half because I wasn’t serving a stadium full of people, and I still had enough.

Bring 1 bag cranberries, sugar and orange juice to boil in medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.

What you’ll start to see are the cranberries breaking down. They won’t become a completely smooth mass as the cranberry skins won’t entirely dissolve, but it will become more like a sauce.

Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until sauce is bubbling thickly, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

I made this dish the night before it was to be served and stopped at this step. The next morning, I had very little to do because the food processor takes care of everything, then you just combine it all and you’re done.

Using on/off turns, chop remaining bag of cranberries, parsley, and orange peel in processor. Stir cranberry relish into cranberry sauce. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Despite misconceptions about cranberries being incredibly tart, this had a nice balance between the tart and sweet (hence the name). Since I like to go a little more on the sweet side, next time I might do a 2/3 sauce:1/3 relish ratio. The crunch was great, the fresh ingredients were wonderful, and the colors in the dish are absolutely beautiful. This sauce would grace any Thanksgiving table, and you wouldn’t be forced to hide it under a chair – Pinky Swear!

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