I was 25 before I ever tasted canned cranberry sauce. Jiggly. Bland. Gelatinous. Yuck. I can understand why cranberry sauce is an afterthought for most folks. In our home, it's a centerpiece.
Thanksgiving and Christmas were enormous food events for my family when I was a child. My mother would make turkey, gravy, corn, salad, broccoli, bubbat and pumpkin pie. My father would make cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce was a religious thing for him. He would make enormous pots of the stuff, and wouldn't only serve it for holidays. Cranberry sauce was a year round thing for us. And rightly so! This cranberry sauce will change your life.
Dad's cranberry sauce started with the recipe in the old version of the Joy of Cooking, but was refined to be less sweet and more bright. I think you'll amaze your guests with this recipe:
Sort the cranberries. While they ship well, I find fresh cranberries often contain as much as one fifth rotten berries. Wash them and measure them.
Use the following ratio:
1 2⁄3 cup water4⁄5 cup sugar
4 cup cranberries (sorted and washed)
Mix the water and sugar in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil, until the sugar dissolves. Then add cranberries.
Lower to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 30 or so minutes, stirring periodically. Use the spoon to crush the cranberries. You don't want a homogeneous mixture, but a nice lumpy sauce, with mostly broken berries but a very few whole ones.
Zest some lemons and oranges to make:
2 tsp lemon zest3 tsp orange zest
You'll want to add the zest last, as the longer you cook it, the more the zest flavour dulls.
Stir in the zest, and taste. Adjust the sugar and zest to taste. Let cool, and serve at room temperature or cold. (We generally make this ahead of time, but it's not much work and can easily be done while cooking a turkey).
Thanks for the recipe, Dad.