Monday, October 24, 2005

Bernadette's Perfect Cranberry Sauce For Those Who Think They Hate It

I am always surprised when I find out how many people don't like cranberry sauce. They've usually only been exposed to the canned variety, which I like anyway, but which is kind of boring all by itself. They also don't seem to realize that it is called cranberry sauce for a reason, and that it is meant as a spread for turkey. (It works especially well with slightly dry turkey.) Anyway, the recipe for basic cranberry sauce is appallingly simple, and goes like this:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12oz. pkg of cranberries
Put water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and reduce heat to low boil; cook until all of the cranberries have popped, stirring gently. Cool before serving.

That's it. That's everything. That's all that silly canned stuff is: sugar, water, and cranberries. If you want a jellied version, you strain it while it's warm and you're done.

That's just screaming out for improvement...

I've been playing around with this for years, and have come up with a modular version that you can adjust to suit your family's tastes. My own version is listed below, and is perfect for those who think they hate cranberry sauce for one reason:

They've told me so.

Liquid group:
Filtered water
Orange juice
Cranberry juice
Raspberry juice
Pomegranate juice (only use as one quarter of the liquid amount; other three quarters should be water or other liquid)
*Apple juice

Sugar group:
White sugar
Brown sugar
Natural sugar
Molasses (use sparingly)

Fruit group:
Cranberries (use full amount)
Mandarin bits
*Apple bits
*Dark Raisins


Follow the above recipe with the liquids making a total of one cup, the sugars making one cup (go easy on the honey, though), and the fruit bits tossed in as extras to the cranberries. Dust with the spices of your choice. To keep the cranberries from splattering all over your stove, gently pop them with the back of the spoon against the side of the pot.

The *starred ingredients go together but not with the other ingredients. Don't go mixing apples and oranges.

My personal recipe is a double amount; one cup water, one cup orange juice, one cup white sugar, 2/3 cup brown, various squirts of honey and molasses, two packages of cranberries, lots of cinnamon and a couple of dashes of nutmeg. Mandarin sections added as available; remove as much pith as humanly possible. Like I said, I've had people tell me they hate cranberry sauce but like mine, so take that as you will. I personally eat the leftovers for breakfast. And on waffles. Mmmm. Cranberry waffles.

Anyone who says you should use salt or pepper (!) is a heathen.

This year I'm making it for my work, as well as for my family. More leftovers for me!

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