Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This past Thanksgiving was the first time that I have ever made cranberry sauce. Now I don’t understand why I had never endeavored to make it from scratch before. I mean, I grew-up with the beautiful can mould of cranberry sauce in my grandparent’s serving dish every year…and thought nothing of it. It tasted good and it was cranberries for Pete’s sake! But after savoring this sauce, I will be hard-pressed to give-in to the convenience of the can again. Come on…how could you not want to take a big spoonful of this lusciousness?!

There are very few steps needed to make an absolutely delicious cranberry sauce. However, if you are not up to this indulgence, then by all means...think again.
 To start, in a large saucepan bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently so that the sugar does not stick to the bottom of the pan and dissolves completely.

Add on bag (16 oz) of fresh cranberries to the boiling sugar & water. Adding the cranberries will cool the temperature of the water, so we need to bring the pot back up to a boil.

In the meantime, get your cutting board out and let's put it to use. Take 1 granny smith apple (you could use a gala apple in it's place) and chop it into bite size pieces. You could do this by peeling your apple, coring it, cutting it into 8 wedges, cutting each of those in half lengthwise and then chopping each of those slices into bite-sized 1/4" pieces.

However, I take full advantage of this handy dandy apple slicer/corer. Then I just slice off the skins of each wedge. Half each wedge lengthwise. Stack several wedges and cut them into 1/4" thick slices. So there are basically a ton of little apple triangles all over the cutting board. (which I then have to spend time fighting off my triangle stacking girls)
Once things start boiling again, you will begin to hear the sweet melody of popping cranberries. Time to lower the heat so the mixture will just simmer.

Look at how beautiful and robust the color is from these berries! And the smell! Ohhhhhh the smell!Mmmmmmmm!

Alright, back to the cutting board. Take 1 cup of walnuts and chop, chop, chop. They basically need to be the same size as the apple pieces, maybe a little bit smaller.

Time to get the citrus involved.

 Cut 1 orange and 1 lemon in half and juice.

Be sure to remove all seeds! There is no need to make an emergency trip to the dentist after dinner.

It is now time to add the walnuts & apples to the pot.
If you are a fan of raisins, then this would be the time that you add about 1/2 cup of raisins to the pot.

Grab a spoon and stir everyone in the pot.

Add orange & lemon juices.

Take one of the orange halves and zest 1/4-1/2 teaspoon into the sauce. When that zest hits the cranberries...WATCH OUT! Again, the aroma is amazing.

Now it's time to measure out 1/4 cup Grand Marnier. I love this stuff! Anytime I can work it into a dessert of any kind, I will. If you are not a fan of Grand Marnier, or you just don't have any on hand, then juice the other half of the orange (1/4 cup) and add it to the sauce instead.

Give it a stir again so that everyone can mingle.
Spices, spices...throw in the spices! Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. If you have fresh nutmeg, then by all means, get out the little grater and grate away.
Lest we forget to add 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves. So little it almost gets lost in there, but so very good. If you are really a fan of cloves, then go ahead and bump it up to 1/4-1/2 know what you like.

Give it another stir and then continue to simmer on low heat for another 10-15 minutes. This will allow all of your spices to do their work. Try to contain yourself, don't give in to an early is worth the wait.

Remove from stove and allow the saucy deliciousness to cool.

Then pull out your favorite little serving dish and spoon in plenty of cranberry sauce. This is perfect with turkey or any holiday dish!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1 Cup of Water
1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
1 (16 oz.) Bag Fresh, Whole Cranberries
1 Chopped Granny Smith Apple (Gala Apple can be used as well)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/4 Cup Grand Marnier (optional)
1/2 Lemon, Juiced
1/2 Orange, Juiced
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg, Ground (freshly grated if available)
1/8 Teaspoon Cloves, Ground
1/4 - 1/2 Teaspoon Orange Zest (to taste)

In a large sauce pan combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Add the cranberries and return to a boil.

Once a boil is reached, lower the heat so that the mixture simmers. When you hear the popping of the cranberries and the liquid becomes a burgundy shade it is time to add the rest of the ingredients.
Add apples, walnuts, Grand Marnier (or 1/4 cup additional fresh juiced orange), lemon & orange juices, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and orange zest. Continue to simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool. Serve in a side bowl with any holiday dish! (Makes Approx. Eight 1/2-cup Servings)

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