A reinvented jewel of the holiday table, this jammy cranberry sauce is at once bright, fruity and earthy. An easy “make ahead” dish for the holiday chef!
It is a cold, awful, perfectly horrible, completely normal November day in the Pacific Northwest. Trucks full of Christmas trees barrel down the rural highway in front of my home in between flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder. While the whole world seems ready for a “holly jolly Christmas”, I must admit that I still have a few Halloween decorations lingering around and that the only holiday I have on my mind is Thanksgiving.
And so while the rest of the family snuggles under blankets watching the football game, I have snuck off to the kitchen to prepare the cranberry sauce for the massive family gathering just a few days ahead. The air is filled with the filled with the scents of cranberry, orange and ginger – and I am content.
In years past, instead of joining gatherings at relative’s homes, we have hosted Thanksgiving for various friends and colleagues that have lacked a “family gathering” of their own to attend. Feeling a little frayed around the edges this year, I made the bittersweet decision that we should attend the festivities at my mother’s house with the extended family. I am very pleased to be joining my sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for the occasion, but, inside, a little saddened to not fill my home those needing a little extra family for the holiday season. Now, all this sentimental stuff aside – I have some serious cooking to do because we do the holidays BIG and I have signed onto bring no less than three dishes.
As a child, I HATED the extruded, can shaped log of cranberry sauce that seemed customary on every holiday table. Insipidly sweet, gelatinous, quivering mass of unappetizing yuck. Politely declined and always passed over, I never really understood its presence on the Thanksgiving requisite side dish list.
But some years ago, I grew “cranberry curious” and started experimenting with different cranberry sauce recipes. My first foray – cranberry zinfandel sauce. Ick. Cooked wine and berries left me underwhelmed and despondent. After a few more years of trial and sometimes error, I developed my signature cranberry sauce.
Rich and cranberry-licious, zingy with orange and ginger and grounded by an infusion of my secret ingredient: tea – this cranberry sauce is jammy , flavorful and a perfect sweet/savory compliment to the centerpiece bird. Served in the sterling footed crystal bowl that once was my late grandmother’s, these cranberries are the garnet hued jewelry of the holiday spread.
This recipe will make a fair amount, but no worries. You can transform your Thanksgiving leftovers and make a tangy Cranberry Mustard with your homemade Cranberry Sauce!
Cranberry Sauce Recipe with Orange, Ginger & Tea
Cranberry Sauce with Orange, Ginger, and Tea
- 24 ounces fresh cranberries 2 packages
- 1 orange
- 1 cup orange juice
- ½ cup organic sugar or to taste
- 2 Tablespoons ginger freshly grated
- 2 Orange Spice or Earl Grey tea bags
- Place rinsed and sorted cranberries into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add zest of one orange, grated ginger, sugar and orange juice.
- Remove peel and pith from orange and roughly chop the orange flesh. Add to other ingredients.
- Tie tea bags onto pan handle and ensure the the tea bags have continued contact with the cranberry mixture.
- Over medium heat, cook cranberry mixture until jammy, stirring frequently. Individual cranberries will have softened and popped, and a spoon dragged across the bottom should reveal the pan briefly.
- Remove the tea bags and allow the cranberry mixture to cool completely. Serve in your prettiest glass or crystal bowl.