The Obligatory Side
In our family, at holiday meals (especially Thanksgiving) cranberry sauce has always been considered an obligatory side. When all of us are seated at the table, and the bowls start being passed, there is a frenzy as food is piled high on each plate. When the dish of cranberry sauce arrives, most will politely take a dap (so as not to offend the person who brought the dish). And after everything on each plate is consumed (being from the Midwest we do “clean” our plates), usually the only foodstuff that is left is that dab of cranberry sauce.
The Cranberry Sauce Of All Cranberry Sauces
Well, I am one of the sidemen or side-women who are responsible each year for a certain side. One of my sides that I bring is the cranberry sauce. To quote Emeril, each year I try to “kick it up a notch” and make it better, When the meal is over and the plates are being cleared, I check to see how much sauce is left, and I will give myself a grade. As far as comments, at least I’m getting some. Some have even raved about it.
It is a dish I love to prepare. It is easy, and it makes the kitchen have a holiday smell. It’s colorful, and I think it tastes great. For those cranberry haters, they will at least tolerate a forkful or two, and those who love it say this is the best they have ever had. This can be considered dubious praise because most people have been served the commercial types, and most of them are awful.
Note The Converts
So, try this recipe. Watch all in attendance as the first spoonful hits their palette. Note to you see a convert. If nothing else cranberry sauce serves as a wonderful garnish on a holiday plate.
2 CupsCranberries fresh and washed
1Orange zest and juice
1/2 TbspCorn starch
Wash the cranberries.
Zest and juice the orange.
Make a slurry of 1/2 Tbsp of each: cornstarch and water.
Can make up a day ahead of time.
Time: 45 Minutes
Combine everything but the cornstarch in a 2-qt saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. Note: cranberries will breakdown and burst during the cooking process. Towards the end I help this along by pressing the whole ones against the side of the saucepan with a spoon.
Whisk the prepared cornstarch/water slurry into the sauce and cook until thickened.
Let cool. Transfer to a dish, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.
Might want to garnish with a bit of mint.