Cranberry Sauce for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving, always has been, even when I was a child I loved to eat the cold round slices of the canned variety, one of the only “store-bought” components of our Thanksgiving dinner. I loved everything about it; the deep red color, the smooth texture, cool temperature and tart-sweetness, in sharp contrast to the rich turkey and piping hot stuffing. Then, we discovered cranberry relish, from the deli, fresher than the canned cranberry sauce, with all the same wonderful qualities plus the crispness of chopped apples and oranges. This was a step in the right direction.
It wasn’t until 1998, when I hosted my first Thanksgiving, that making cranberry sauce myself ever crossed my mind. I was looking through my Williams Sonoma Holiday Favorites Cookbook when I found their super simple recipe, using only 4 ingredients. I happened to have all 4 ingredients and 15 spare minutes (my kids were 6 and 3 at the time, so that’s all I probably had that day) to give it a shot and I could not believe how easy and delicious it was. My store-bought cranberry sauce days were over.
Today, I make it more often than just on Thanksgiving, but only in the fall when cranberries are in season. I don’t use the amount of sugar in the original recipe anymore, and I often use honey or add more honey or fruit juice when serving it. I love to put it in yogurt and top it with berries and granola for breakfast. Above, I swirled a spoonful into plain organic yogurt, topped it with golden raspberries, ancient grain granola and a drizzle of honey.
I don’t remember when I discovered that making cranberry mayonnaise was as easy as mixing half cranberry sauce and half mayo together, but it was a happy day. Turkey sandwiches are my second favorite thing about Thanksgiving, and probably in my top 10 of the whole holiday season. So, it’s appropriate that Cranberry Mayo is our 2nd Way with Cranberry sauce today! I use a 1:1 ratio of cranberry sauce to Hellman’s (Bring out the Best) Olive Oil Mayonnaise but you can use any ratio that you like, depending if you like more cranberry or more mayo. It’s not science. Here is where it pays off to not make your cranberry sauce too sweet right away.
I made this sandwich with Rotisserie Chicken Breast from the market, mixed organic greens, cranberry mayonnaise and toasted whole grain fruity bread from a favorite local bakery. (Kayak Matt’s Abundant Sunshine Rye from Stoudt’s Wonderful Good Market, if that isn’t a mouthful of happiness, I don’t know what is.)
The 3rd way with Cranberry Sauce this week was a condiment for grilled chicken sausages. I sweetened the Cranberry sauce with a splash of apple cider mixed into it when I heated it up for dinner. We ate it on top of the sausages, caramelized onions, smashed red-skinned potatoes and sauteed purple chinese cabbage.
One of the great things about this recipe is it can be made days ahead and reheated or served at room temp. I made mine days ago but as you can see, we’ve already eaten it so I’m going to go whip up a new batch and perhaps you should, too! Happy Holidays!
- 1 orange
- 1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/3 cup sugar or honey, or to taste, depending on the sweetness of the fruit*
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in wide strips, leaving the bitter white pith behind. Juice the orange.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and juice, cinnamon stick and 3 Tbs. water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to pop and the sauce thickens, 5-10 minutes. Remove the orange zest and cinnamon stick and discard.
- Transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temperature. Or let cool, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, then serve cold.
- *To sweeten, I have used maple syrup in place of the sugar, or other fruit juices in place of the water, like apple cider, pomegranate juice, or store-bought orange juice.