A proper Thanksgiving Day menu is not complete without cranberries. I think it’s because the roast turkey, gravy, potatoes, and stuffing can always use some color…and flavor. Enter the cranberries. They are vibrant, bitter, delicious, and pair perfectly with the rest of the menu. For as much as my mom created home-cooked dishes, she always used the canned stuff–maybe it was easier than making a sauce from scratch along with the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe she just liked it. Either way, the foodie in me always craved an upgrade to the gelatinous “plopper” of cranberries I was served as a kid.
A few years ago, I finally got my wish when my dear friend (my pseudo-mom) served a homemade, whole cranberry sauce and, for me, it was love at first bite. I immediately resolved to make it a part of my own Thanksgiving Day menu from that point forward. It is that good.
I am a lover of quality, SIMPLE recipes that are packed with flavor. The kind that makes you feel nostalgic and comforted all at the same time. Enjoy the double dose of hygge this recipe brings as your house fills with the aromas of the perfect Thanksgiving Day side.
Spicy Cranberry & Zinfandel Sauce
2 c. Zinfandel or another fruity red wine
3/4 c. Sugar
5 pcs. (2″) orange rind strips
1/2 c. Orange Juice
6 Whole Cloves
2 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Peeled Ginger (Slices)
1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
~ Combine the first 7 ingredients (everything but the cranberries) in a medium saucepan. Heat to medium and cook for 45 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken and the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. When the mixture has reduced and the sugar is dissolved, strain the mixture through a sieve and discard the solids.
~ Return the mixture to the pan.
~ Add the cranberries, cook over high heat for about 10 minutes or until all of the berries pop.
~ Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is thick and slightly gelatinous.
~ Pour into a bowl and let cool.
*This dish can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
Apparently, cranberries are like spinach when cooked. They shrink. If your guest list is long with cranberry-lovers, double the recipe. Otherwise, a little goes a long way as this side is the perfect accompaniment to turkey and mashed potatoes. All you need is the littlest bit with every bite.