With Thanksgiving literally around the corner, my daughter, Lola, and I decided to start with a traditional recipe that looks impressive, and that is ridiculously easy to make. Like, ridiculously easy. So easy, in fact that I measured out the ingredients and then took a backseat to let Lola take the reigns with the cooking.
I feel no shame in saying that I grew up eating canned cranberry jelly. I mean the kind where you have to violently assault the can to get the log of cranberry to thwoop out. I still love it, and my mom requires it at Thanksgiving. A gorgeous spread of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and more, and right in the middle is the cranberry log indented with the ridges of the can it slid from. Thwoop.
This year, my parents are flying in from Michigan for Thanksgiving, and we plan to quietly add a bowl of fresh cranberry dressing to the table. We'll see who protests first. Before my mom accuses me of ruining Thanksgiving, I'll hand over a can opener and the can of cranberry jelly I've set aside. I can see it now. Then Thanksgiving will be saved and we'll laugh and laugh.
We headed out to Briermere Farms to grab few gourds, and a pie. I don't know anyone who can visit Briermere without getting a pie, and frankly, I don't know if I want to know anyone who can go without getting a pie. Their pies are the cheese to my macaroni. Then I saw the most beautiful, colorful cranberries just waiting for me to take them home, which is exactly what I did.
On to the recipe.
You can make this up to 3 days ahead of time, which is a smart move. Get anything done ahead of time if you can, because that kitchen will be a warzone.
Ridiculously Easy Cranberry Sauce
12 oz cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
Let's be honest, we don't always have everything onhand, and I sure am not going to run to the store for a cinnamon stick. If you have ground cinnamon, add to taste; if you don't have an orange to freshly juice, use some Tropicana; if you don't have sea salt, use table salt. We aren't saving lives here, we're making cranberry sauce. Perspective.
Shave a few strips of peel from your orange. I used a large one for cooking, and then set a few aside for garnish.
Squeeze 1/2 c. of juice from your orange. This sounds so fancy, but it's really just to save you money, so that you aren't buying a carton of juice for a 1/2 cup.
In a saucepan, add the sugar, orange juice, and water over medium heat.
Once that's combined, add the rest of your ingredients.
Bring those ingredients to a soft boil, and stir continuously for about 10 minutes. What you're looking for are those cranberries to pop. Stirring will help get them to hurry their little berry butts along. You can see here that they're starting to swell, which is a good sign. You're right on track.
Leave a few of the cranberries whole for a nice texture and pop. If you find that you have a few stubborn ones that just won't pop, remember that you're calling the shots. Get in there with your spoon and show'em who's boss.
Remove from heat and let stand for 20-30 minutes. Garnish with the orange peel, and you're done!
This sweet and tart cranberry sauce will make a beautiful addition to your table, and it will look like you worked some culinary magic. Unless you have my mom at your table. Then just hand her a can of the jelly and be done with it.