Cranberry Sauce is another element of Thanksgiving Dinner that deserves the personal touch of being homemade. For years I have followed my mother’s recipe for a cranberry jelly, which is good, but is difficult to get just right and if undercooked, never really gels and goes to the table as a cranberry syrup that tends to be ignored.
This year, I decided to go off-recipe and create my own. A couple of elements that I decided were crucial: it should be easy to execute, capture the tartness of the cranberries, and have some body to it. If I hit those points, I reasoned, it would be a garnish that would make its way onto everyone’s plate.
The bowl was empty at the end of the first meal of leftovers.
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
- 4 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 shot whiskey
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- grated zest of 2 tangerines (or of 1 orange)
- In a large saucepan, fry the minced ginger in the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the ginger starts to take on a bit of a golden brown hue.
- Add 4 1/2 cups cranberries into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped (several minutes).
- Add the shot of whiskey and light it on fire with a burning wooden skewer. Let it flame off. This will caramelize the sugars in a way that simply boiling it will not accomplish.
- Stir in the brown sugar and the citrus zest. Once these have been stirred in, simmer without stirring for about 7 minutes or until the sauce has taken on a very thick and bubbly appearance, sort of like lava looks in a low-budget film.
- Remove to a heat-safe glass bowl. Let cool briefly at room temperature before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.
I’ll admit that some of Angstrom’s culinary proclivities are not ordinary for a two-and-a-half-year-old, but the little man was responsible, I think, for polishing off about a third of this sauce. He was such a fan of it that I actually didn’t get to eat quite as much of it as I would have liked to, so I am going to have to make another batch soon… maybe for Christmas; this recipe would also go quite nicely with ham.