When I was a kid, my job at Thanksgiving and Christmas was to slice the cranberry sauce right before dinner was served. Yes, I said slice. We always had cranberry sauce from the can. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact, lots of great things come from a can. However, I never liked cranberry sauce at all. I didn’t like the fact that it had ridges from the can and it also resembled jell-o to me –which I’m not crazy about.
A few years ago, I ran into cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries and I immediately said, “where have you been all my life?” Compared to the canned sauce of my youth, it’s a completely different animal altogether.
I just made my first batch of fresh cranberry sauce of the holiday season and I’ve spent the last 30 minutes or so tasting it. I think it tastes great, but I need another opinion. I called Nathan to see if he could leave his job to come taste my cranberry sauce creation. No dice. The nerve of some men to stay at their job when their wife needs them to come taste fresh cranberry sauce!
Anyway, I think it’s great. I found a really basic recipe and added two extra things to give it my own spin — grated fresh ginger and Grand Marnier. I think these things give it depth – but they are completely optional. Leave out the ginger and Grand Marnier and you still have a really great cranberry sauce.
Now, I’m trying to decide if I should make some to take to Deer Camp on Friday. Is fresh ground ginger and Grand Marnier too sophisticated for Deer Camp? Will the two cranberry sauces get into a terrible fight and storm out of camp leaving us with no sauce at all? These are the kind of questions that keep me up at night.
One thing I’m certain of … I will probably be asked to slice the cranberry sauce again this year and I will be more than happy to do it!
Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Makes about 2 cups
1 – 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
¾ cup orange juice
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ cinnamon stick
Optional – 2 onces of Grand Marnier
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan or deep skillet and cook on medium-high for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced – stirring occasional. You’ll hear the cranberries popping – It’s a beautiful sound. Once most of the liquid is gone and you have a thick sauce, remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick and serve. Cranberry sauce can be made several days ahead and brought to room temperature or heated slightly before serving.