5 easy variations on Cranberry Sauce
My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner, hosted by two friends, will be two vegetable dishes and the cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is so easy to make, I don’t know why anyone buys the canned stuff.
Classic cranberry sauce, made with cranberries, sugar and water, is a great start, but you can make it really special by adding all sorts of ingredients to complement the main dish. Here are 5 versions I came up with last weekend.
The turkey, I’m told, will be brined in an apple cider mix, and the stuffing will be of the traditional bread variety—I’ll probably make the Cranberry Onion variation. Try one, adjust it to your tastes, and make your own signature sauce.
Cranberry Sauce 5 Ways
I like to start with a thick and tart sauce (I find the recipe on the bag of cranberries way too sweet). To that base, I stir in flavouring ingredients, liquid to thin as needed, and sugar or honey if needed to balance the tartness. While the sauce is hot, I add ingredients (most spices and garlic) that are enhanced by cooking or need heat to meld into the sauce; those that lose flavour when heated (orange juice, dry mustard) go in when the sauce has cooled.
Hands-on time: 5 minutes | Start to finish: 30 minutes
1 bag (12 oz/340 g) cranberries
1/2 cup sugar (125 ml)
1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cranberries, sugar, and 1/2 cup (125 ml) water to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until berries have burst and and are soft. Remove from heat.
For Cranberry Orange Sauce, add grated zest of 1 orange and a pinch of salt while the sauce is hot. When it has cooled, thin with up to 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh orange juice.
For Cranberry Onion Sauce, add 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, while the sauce is hot. When it has cooled a little, add 1/4 tsp (1 ml) dry mustard, 1/2 tsp (2 ml) Worcestershire sauce, and two green onions, thinly sliced. Thin with up to 1/2 cup (125 ml) water.
For Mulled Cranberry Sauce, add 1 tsp (5 ml) finely chopped fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cloves, 1/4 tsp (1 ml) cinnamon, and a pinch of salt while the sauce is hot. When it has cooled a little, thin with up to 1/2 cup (125 ml) red wine.
For Smoky Cranberry Sauce, add 2 tbsp (30 ml) strong, black lapsang souchong tea (brewed tea, not the leaves), 1 tbsp (30 ml) ketchup, and 1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika when the sauce has cooled a little. Thin with up to 6 tbsp (90 ml) water.
For Five-Spice Cranberry Sauce, add 1/2 tsp (1 ml) five-spice powder, 2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce, and 2 tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar while the sauce is hot. Thin with up to 1/4 cup (60 ml) water.
Yield: About 2 1/2 cups (675 ml)