Foodie In Training

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cranberry "sauce"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think when most people think of cranberry sauce they thing of something that comes from a can. Something that is like some weird jello texture molded into a can shape and then sliced into red discs that sit in a lonely bowl at Thanksgiving, never to be touched or heard of again.
Well, when I think of cranberry "sauce", I think of a delicious citrus-y and slightly chunky version that my mom makes. She hasn't made it the past couple Thanksgivings.
Well, this past week she bought a bunch of fresh cranberries and after making cranberry muffins and cranberry bread, she decided that she wanted to make her cranberry "sauce". Now, I keep putting "sauce" in quotes when referring to my mom's version because it is technically cranberry relish that she makes. Cranberry sauce really is supposed to be cooked and molded like a jelly: at least according to Alton Brown.
My mom's version comes from an old party cookbook. For a good large bowl full, here is the recipe from McCall's Illustrated Dinner Party Cookbook (copyright 1970!):
You need: 2 large navel oranges, 1 large red apple, 1 lb fresh cranberries (4 cups), and 1 1/2 cups sugar.

1. Grate the peel of one orange into a large bowl. Remove peel and white pulp from both oranges.
2. Quarter and core unpeeled apple. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash and drain cranberries, removing any stems. Coarsely chop cranberries and oragnes. Add fruits to the large bowl with the peel.3. Add sugar stirring gently until dissolved. Refrigerate, covered for several hours or overnight.
Now- my mom adds only 1/2 the sugar the recipe calls for. This is pretty much my mom's MO- she hates sugar. I think her version is plenty sweet and allows the tart cranberry flavor to come through, but maybe you would prefer it sweeter than we do. Also, she just puts all the ingredients (save the sugar) into a food processor or blender to really make everything into a fine relish. You don't want it to be liquid or mush, but you want everything to be in small bits- think the consistency of store bought pickle relish (though a bit thinner). The sugar should be folded in at the end, evenly mixed, but not in the food processor.
What's the end product good for? Well, it is wonderful with turkey breast, be it store bought lunch meat or on freshly carved off a holiday bird. It is also good on toast or muffins. I like it as a way to liven up any boring meat and potatoes type meal as a little side dish.
NOTE- Erin should add the pictures from my mom's cranberry sauce soon. **photos are posted, enjoy!**

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