Making your own cranberry sauce is easier than you’d guess: it requires one pot and about fifteen minutes of work. You can make it up to a week in advance, though it’s so easy I usually do mine the day before while I’m cleaning the kitchen. My version calls for an orange to accent the cranberries, red wine to round the edges, and brown sugar for depth of flavor. (You can sub in cranberry juice or even water for the red wine, if you’re alcohol-free.) It’s absolutely delicious as is, added to a Thanksgiving plate, swirled into yogurt, atop a turkey sandwich, mixed into cream cheese, or baked with brie for an easy appetizer (my favorite; recipe follows).
For the cranberry sauce, you will need:
1 bag fresh cranberries
2/3 C red wine
2/3 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
If making baked brie, you’ll also need:
1 wheel brie cheese
Crackers, apples, or bread for serving
Slowly sift the berries into a small pot through your fingers, picking out any leaves, stones, or berries that are excessively withered.
Zest the orange into the pot, then cut it in half and squeeze the juice into the pot, as well. Add the spices if you want some holiday flavor in there; if you want your cranberry sauce zippier, you can omit them. Add the rest of the cranberry sauce ingredients to the pot and stir.
Cook on medium for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally after 5 minutes and smashing the berries against the side of the pot when they start to burst.
Continue cooking for 2-5 more minutes, until the berries have all burst and the sauce has thickened. Cool for at least an hour before serving, and store in the fridge for up to a week.
To make baked brie, slice the white rind off the top of a wheel of brie.
Place the cheese in a pie pan. Spoon cranberry sauce over the top and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.
I like to add some chopped pecans or hazelnuts to the top, then serve with sliced apples, crackers, and/or bread for dipping.
Happy Thanksgiving, and pass the cranberry sauce!