I have a confession to make. I used to be afraid of cranberry sauce. This was 100% due to the cranberry sauce that always adorned the table on Thanksgiving when I was a kid. The canned stuff that falls out in the shape of a log. Do you slice it? Do you mash it? I dunno. I didn’t touch the stuff. Often one of the flavors that accompanies Thanksgiving-inspired sandwiches (these sandwiches are abound in Portland right now), is cranberry sauce. Guess what? I avoid those sandwiches, too.
Most people I know sing the praises of cranberry sauce, which means they’re thrilled to have a swiping of cranberry sauce on one of the pieces of bread anchoring a Thanksgiving-inspired turkey sandwich. In an effort to conquer my fear, I decided to buy some fresh cranberries this year to add to the dinner Thanksgiving dinner table. I found what sounded like a very palatable recipe on Joanne Ozug’s blog. I liked this recipe because it transformed Joanne’s opinion of cranberries. However, I didn’t have any spiced rum and didn’t feel like buying any just for one recipe. I did, however, have some bourbon in my cupboard. So I found three recipes (at foodista.com, bon appetit and seriouseats.com) and sorta combined the three.
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- 1/8 c. bourbon
- 2 T. orange juice, freshly squeezed
- Candied Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 8×8-inch oven-safe baking dish, stir together everything but the bourbon and juice. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes; remove from oven and stir well to dissolve remaining sugar. Continue baking another 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven, stir in bourbon and juice then allow to cool at least slightly. Stir in candied walnuts. Serve warm or at room temperature; refrigerate up to one week.
The verdict? Fear conquered! Though my entire family was too stuffed from all the other Thanksgiving goodies on the table, we each took a bite of the sauce and declared it much better than we possibly imagined it could be. I would definitely make it again another year – especially if I have actual cranberry lovers around the dining room table. That being said, I’m not quite sure I’m ready to slather it on some bread or a roll to use in a sandwich.
Baby steps, my friends.