I learned many years ago that the easiest way to impress your guests at Thanksgiving is by making your own cranberry sauce. “Really?! You made this? Was it hard?” are the questions that inevitably crop up as soon as they taste the first bite.
While I’m tempted to claim that cranberry sauce requires a high level of culinary knowledge, that would be an outright lie, as it is arguably the easiest and quickest part of the Thanksgiving feast. Plus, it can be made several days in advance.
I’m not sure what it is about cranberry sauce that intimidates people, and I include my younger self in that category. Surely something that is sold in cans or as a holiday offering at specialty would be difficult and time consuming to make. Because of this misconception, I relish in the joy of teaching someone to make the holiday sauce because they are always…always…surprised that it comes together in 15 minutes.
While cranberry sauce lends itself to many different mix-ins and flavor profiles, such as cranberry sauce with tart cherries or cranberry sauce with port wine, the basic principles are the same each and every time. Place the fresh cranberries in a saucepan with some liquid (such as water or orange juice), and stir in some sort of sweetener (such as maple sauce, brown sugar or agave nectar). Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes until the cranberries pop. That’s it!
In this version, I cooked chunks of apple alongside the cranberries, sweetening the mixture with maple syrup. Once the sauce is cooked, mix in the pomegranate arils (see How to: Pomegranate) for an extra level of tangy sweet flavor and a fun “pop” when eating the sauce.
Now it’s your turn to impress your guests!
#EatSeasonal is the brainchild of my friend Becky of The Vintage Mixer , who has pulled together a group of bloggers to post seasonal recipes each month, using her produce guide as inspiration.
There’s a fantastic variety of recipes, some sweet and some savory, as you can see in the collage below, all inspired by produce that is fresh and seasonal in November. Be sure to click on the links to check out the recipes. For more seasonal recipe inspiration, follow the #EatSeasonal hashtag on Instagram.
Butternut Squash Apple Soup with Sage Parmesan Croutons by Well Plated
Whole Wheat Pancakes with Balsamic Caramel Apples by Climbing Grier Mountain
Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup by Letty’s Kitchen
Beet, Goat Cheese and Hazelnut Galette by Vintage Mixer
Endive Salad Bites with Pears, Blue Cheese, & Pecans by Flavor the Moments
Pumpkin Roll by Foodie Crush
Butternut Squash Burrito Bowls by Mountain Mama
Slow Cooker Creamy Turkey and Butternut Squash Chili by Bless this Mess
Butternut Squash and Rosemary Biscuits by Completely Delicious
Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes with Sage Browned Butter by Floating Kitchen
Honey Roasted Beets and Kale by Food for My Family
Homemade Cinnamon Apple Pop-Tarts by From Gate to Plate
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries
- 1 large Gala apple, peeled & cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the cranberries, apple, water and maple syrup.
- Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cranberries pop, stirring frequently.
- Transfer to a bowl, stir in the pomegranate arils and cool completely.
- Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.