Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce Cranberry Relish recipes

The ingredients of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner add up to one of the longest shopping lists drawn up by most home cooks during the year. So, it's only natural that you might forget to include an item or two. And you wouldn't believe how many people tell me that, the day before Thanksgiving, they suddenly find themselves missing one of the holiday table's absolute essentials: cranberry sauce.

Maybe you are one of those forgetful holiday cooks. But before you run to the market and habitually grab premade cranberry sauce with the familiar ridged indentations that leave their mark on the cylinder as you push it out of the can into a serving bowl, let me offer an easy and much more creative alternative: Prepare your own cranberry sauce!

The whole cranberry sauce and spiced cranberry relish recipes I share with you make it Thanksgiving a bit easier and tastier.

The first of those recipes could not be simpler, and it produces a sauce (or you can call it a relish, if you prefer) reminiscent of familiar commercial products, only with a noticeably fresher taste and texture. All you have to do is combine the ingredients in a saucepan and cook them for a few minutes until the berries start to burst and they're surrounded by a thick syrup that glazes them. Then, just let the sauce cool and store it in the refrigerator until serving time.

Of course, it is possible to for you to get more creative than that with a homemade cranberry sauce, while still not adding significantly to your cooking efforts. My Spiced Cranberry Relish adds to the basic recipe only a few embellishments, most of which you probably already have in your pantry -- cinnamon, white pepper, and salt -- plus orange and lemon juices and zests, a little fresh ginger, and splashes of port wine and an orange-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, or Cointreau. Some diced onion contributes a little bite to the mixture, too, making this recipe a good choice for those who find traditional cranberry sauce a little too sweet for their tastes.

Whichever of my recipes you choose to make, start with whole fresh cranberries. You'll find 12-ounce bags of them piled high in supermarket produce sections right now. Equal-sized bags of frozen whole cranberries will also work well, although you will need to increase the simmering times by a few minutes to cook them through.

Both recipes yield enough for 10 to 12 generous serving spoonfuls alongside the carved turkey. You can double the recipe easily for a larger gathering. But either way, make sure you have enough left over to use as the perfect condiment for your day-after-Thanksgiving leftover-turkey sandwiches!

Whole Cranberry Sauce

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook time: 15 minutes

    Yield: Makes about 2-1/2 cups

Whole Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

    12 ounces fresh whole cranberries

    3/4 cup sugar

    3/4 cup unsweetened grape juice

Whole Cranberry Sauce Recipe Instructions

    In a small non-reactive saucepan, stir together all the ingredients.

    Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.

    Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the berries have just begun to burst and a thick syrup forms that glazes the berries, about 5 minutes.

    Set the pan aside until the mixture reaches room temperature.

    Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until serving time.

Spiced Cranberry Relish

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook time: 30 minutes

    Yield: Makes about 3 cups

Spiced Cranberry Relish Ingredients

    1 orange, zest grated, juiced

    1 lemon, zest grated, juiced

    3 cups port

    12 ounces fresh whole cranberries

    1/2 medium red onion, diced

    3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

    2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon ground white pepper

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    3 tablespoons orange liqueur

Spiced Cranberry Relish Recipe Instructions

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the orange and lemon juices with 1/2 cup of the port.

    Add the zest and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve.

    In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the cranberries, onion, 2 cups port, brown sugar, ginger, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.

    Over medium-high heat, cook until the mixture is very thick, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking care that it doesn't scorch.

    Stir in the remaining port, the orange liqueur, and the reserved juice-and-zest mixture.

    Set aside to cool to room temperature.

    Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until serving time.



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Wolfgang Puck's Whole Cranberry Sauce & Cranberry Relish Recipes for Thanksgiving

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