To say I am excited about Thanksgiving is a complete understatement. I’m ridiculously pumped. Ridiculously. Did you get that? This Thanksgiving will be my second time ever hosting. My first was four years ago and while I had a lot of fun, my skills in the kitchen were nowhere near what they are today. So this time around I am positively giddy with excitement. Just so we are all clear about how excited I am. As an added bonus, my husband and I usually travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it will be nice to have our family come to us. I’ve had fun decorating and getting the house ready for their arrival.
I’ve been thinking about the menu for some time and this past weekend started to try out some recipes that are new to me – to make sure they are up to par for the big day. I’ll be sure to share the whole menu with you next week, but for now, and leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ll share a few dishes that I plan to serve. Like this cranberry sauce.
The cranberry “sauce” that comes in those cans totally creeps me out. Something about it just doesn’t seem right. The way it kind of jiggles around and holds its shape (can indents and all). Eek. I have wanted to try making cranberry sauce for a while, but since we usually travel for this holiday I never got the chance.
Turns out, homemade cranberry sauce is very easy to make and more importantly is so much better than that stuff from the can. Added bonus, it looks nothing like it either. This sauce is definitely tart on its own, but it pairs really well with turkey and other traditional side dishes. The use of some citrus is a fun variation on a plain sauce, and helps, along with the sugar and salt, to balance out the cranberries. I am actually looking forward to enjoying this with our holiday meal – who would have thought!
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 (12 ounce) bag frozen cranberries, picked through
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as triple sec
- Add the sugar, water and orange zest to a medium saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling, add the frozen cranberries and mix to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until most of the cranberries have popped open. Remove from the heat. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the orange liqueur and mix to combine. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools down.
- Let the sauce cool before serving. If not using right away, store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Bring the sauce to room temperature before serving. This sauce can be made up to several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Barely adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.