Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cranberry Sauce w/ Ginger & Cloves

 One essential element to my Turkey Day dinner?  Cranberry Sauce.  But believe it or not, I didn't always think that way.  You see, like many American families, I grew up with the jellied, can-shaped cylinder placed on a showy crystal dish somewhere on the table.  It would be partially sliced and partially left intact.  As if to show off the unique form.  I don't think I ever even let that on my plate as a kid.  I was not having it.  I will take a big pass on the cranberries, thank you.  And so it went.  My family never seemed to stray from that tradition.  Year after year, there it was, positioned on the same crystal dish on my grandma's table.  Well.  Thank the lucky stars that I grew up and started cooking.  Because after the pies, cranberry sauce was the first thing I brought to Thanksgiving dinner.  Why, oh why didn't anybody else ever make cranberry sauce?  It was just as easy...and almost as quick...to make as opening the can and coaxing out that ruby red cylinder.  I guess it was just what everybody was used to.  Well, I for one am happy to have broken that tradition.  And so is my grandpa...he goes straight for the cranberry sauce after Thanks are given.  Of my thirty-six years on earth, this will be the first one that we don't spend with the extended family.  Thank you shaky car.  It'll just be the five of us around our table.  I will be making every last bit of the meal.  I'm not gonna lie, that kind of excites me...you know, planning the whole menu and making every single thing I want.  But I will be thinking about the masses gathered at grandma's this year and wishing I could airmail some Cranberry Sauce over for my grandpa to enjoy.

You know how you find something you really love and it becomes the end-all for a while?  Well, I have a favorite cranberry sauce (okay, it was my first...but that doesn't mean it isn't fantastic) that I wouldn't give up for years.  But a while ago, I decided that I couldn't let them become "the cylinder" all over again, so I'm going to keep that one on-call and start making new ones every year.  Perhaps it's just that I love cranberries, but I'm loving this version, too.  Tart cranberries bathed in juices sweetened by dark brown sugar and rounded out with the warming kick of ginger and cloves.  L♥VE.
Cranberry Sauce w/ Ginger & Cloves
recipe source:  Everyday Food issue 87
yield: ~2 c.

12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
½ c. packed dark brown sugar
1 c. water
1 Tbs. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
⅛ tsp. ground cloves

Place everything in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring from time to time, until cranberries are bursting and sauce is slightly thickened, ~10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

You can refrigerate this sauce for up to one week.  Bring back to room temperature before serving.
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More Turkey Day menu items coming soon.....