Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce
This cranberry sauce stole the show. I picked the recipe, but Caitlin babied it through the whole process, beginning with all the crazy ingredients, and ending with things not working the way they were supposed to.
After all the effort, though, it was the best cranberry sauce I have ever had. I would make it again in a heartbeat. (If I had an extra hour or two to spend hunched over a stove…) (Also, I say that fully aware that it was not me hunched over the stove this time.)
First things first, we had to figure out what a shallot was. We all thought something different. Mom had to ask somebody at Harris Teeter in order to find them, so then we all studied them carefully to make sure we would recognize them again in the future. They are kind of like garlic-shaped/styled onions, with no green part. The ginger was very exciting, though.
Then we had to collect all the sugary parts of the recipe and exclaim over how much there was. The whole container of honey wasn’t enough – but we were appalled and stopped there.
According to the recipe, the cranberries were supposed to pop and the sauce was supposed to thicken. Well, the popped. But thickening… just didn’t happen. So we stirred, and we stirred, and we stirred… And then we gave up and kept going with the recipe, which involved adding more cranberries, which were supposed to pop and thicken.
I just thought the swirling looked cool. Caitlin is a pretty good stirrer. But the sauce still didn’t thicken. Ultimately, after about 45 minutes of stirring and not thickening, we gave up and refrigerated the darned thing. That did the trick, and it thickened right up.
At that point we also got to lick the spatula, which convinced us that the whole aggravating process was worth every irritation. So worth it.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup honey (we used 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
- Heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the ginger and shallots and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the brown sugar, honey, orange juice, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and salt.
- Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture is nice and bubbly.
- Add half the cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining cranberries and cook another 5 minutes or so.
Notes: This will not happen in the 5 minutes that they indicate, however since you know that, you probably don’t need to wait the 20-25 minutes that we waited, trying to get this to actually happen. I would give each cranberry step about 10 minutes and stop there; if you can get it to thicken, bless you.