Forget canned cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving

November 25, 2008

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I grew up eating that red gelatinous cylinder that came out of a jar every Thanksgiving, and as they say, ignorance is bliss.  I looked forward to eating turkey with a slice of jellied cranberry sauce, never thinking that there was something very wrong if you have to slice your cranberry sauce.  I was in my early twenties when I tasted cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries for the first time and I have never eaten the jarred stuff since.

And neither should you.  It is the easiest thing to make on the Thanksgiving menu and has the biggest yum factor for the amount of work put into it.  It couldn’t be easier – a 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries, 1 C. of sugar, and 1 C. of water.  Bring the sugar and water to a boil and add cranberries.  Boil until cranberries “pop” and start to thicken – about 5-7 minutes or so.  Cool and refrigerate.  Can (and should) be make days ahead.

I am making a variation to the basic cranberry sauce this year and it is simply yummy.  The candied kumquats add another tart element to the sweetly tart cranberries, and the plump golden raisins add a slight pop to the texture. 

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Cranberry Kumquat Sauce from Epicurious

2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
6 ounces fresh kumquats, quartered lengthwise (about 1 generous cup), seeds removed
20 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (about 5 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup golden raisins

Combine sugar, 2 cups water, and kumquats in large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until kumquats are almost translucent, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer kumquats to small bowl.

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Add cranberries to sugar syrup in pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until berries burst, about 7 minutes. Add raisins; simmer until soft, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer cranberry sauce to medium bowl. DO AHEAD Kumquats and cranberry sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Just before serving, add kumquats to cranberry sauce.

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Don’t worry – the sauce will thicken up in the fridge.

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