I have to admit that one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving dinner back in the day was opening the can of cranberry sauce and hearing the satisfying "splort" as it slid out of the can onto the serving dish. These days I like to make my cranberry sauce from scratch, leaving me with a splort-free Thanksgiving. However, the taste of freshly-made cranberry sauce is about a million times better than the canned stuff, so I think it's all for the best. On a recent edition of the Alton Brown podcast, Alton described his recipe for homemade cranberry sauce, and I liked that he used honey as the sweetener rather than granulated sugar, as I've used in the past.
So, upon arriving in Ohio on Thanksgiving Eve (is that a thing?), I set to work making up a batch of cranberry-orange sauce, as it needed at least six hours to chill in the fridge. I kind of messed up when making the sauce, as the recipe states to first simmer all of the ingredients except the cranberries, while I tossed everything into the pot at once; however, my sauce turned out just fine, so I've written the recipe below describing how I made it.
Though cranberry sauce is most often associated with the Thanksgiving dinner table, there's no reason why you can't eat it at other times of the year, too. We're blessed with an abundance of organically-grown cranberries here in Wisconsin; since they freeze well, I like to buy plenty of extra to last me through the year. (And what doesn't go into sauce will definitely find its way into a loaf of cranberry-orange bread!)
Cranberry-Orange Sauce (lightly adapted from this Alton Brown recipe)
makes 8-10 servings
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup unsweetened 100 percent cranberry juice (not cocktail)
1 cup honey
1 pound fresh cranberries (about 4 cups), rinsed
orange zest for garnish (optional)
1. Add the orange juice, cranberry juice, honey, and cranberries to a 4-quart sauce pot and heat over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened.
2. Pour the cranberry sauce into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let set in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
3. Add freshly grated orange zest on top of the sauce before serving.