Is cranberry sauce a side dish or a condiment? I guess it depends upon how much you like it. If you take a really big helping, does it fall into the same category as mashed potatoes, dressing or creamed corn? I don’t know, cranberry sauce is it’s own unique bowl of berries that not only compliments most things on your Thanksgiving plate, but it actually has real purpose. It cuts the richness from the other foods.
Cranberries are super tart, as you must know, and the acid highlights the flavors of the entire meal. I think this sauce should have a much bigger priority on the menu than it does on most tables, and it definitely needs to be made from scratch. Even as a child, I never really understood what’s to like about the long cylinder sauce that jiggled out of a can with permanent rings around it. However, when you put together a few cups of fresh cranberries, a little sugar and some orange juice and zest, it changes the entire equation. This year, I folded a fresh pear into the mix to mellow things out a bit and give the sauce a nice balance of flavors. It also adds incredible texture giving it more of a chutney mouthfeel. I think it’s a side dish, definitely a side dish.
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1/2 an orange
1 cup orange juice
1 pear, peeled and diced
- In a saucepan, add all ingredients except diced pear. Place pan over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes, until you hear cranberries begin to pop.
- Stir sauce and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 3 minutes and turn off heat and stir in pear. Let sauce rest in pan for 5 minutes.
- Pour into a heat-proof bowl and let rest on counter until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator, until ready to serve. You can prepare up to 4 days ahead. Enjoy!