Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Ready for Its Thanksgiving Close Up: Orange-Maple Cranberry Sauce...So Good You'll Lick the Spoon #Thanksgiving #sidedish #cranberrysauce #maple #orange

Until a few years ago, I swore that I hated cranberry sauce. However, once I tasted chunky homemade cranberry sauce the first time at a friend's house? I immediately became a true believer! Today, I'm sharing my favorite riff on this classic Thanksgiving side dish...featuring a technique I learned from Cooking Light magazine. My Orange-Maple Cranberry Sauce features orange juice and peel, pure maple syrup, warm Autumn spices, and a generous amount of vanilla. The end result is a chunky cranberry sauce that's sweetly tart. Ready in less than 30 minutes...and fine to make ahead the day before you feast...it's a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu.

The secret technique to achieving amazing texture and a well-rounded flavor to the finished cranberry sauce is to reserve 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries before you start cooking the sauce. You then add the reserved berries to the cooked cranberry sauce as soon as it comes off the stove. The reserved cranberries soften a bit from the residual heat, but retain their shape. They also provide a tart burst to every bite of sauce. Once I tried this technique, I never looked back. I hope you give this fun spin on a traditional Thanksgiving side a try...everyone who tastes it LOVES it!

Orange-Maple Cranberry Sauce
adapted from Cooking Light
Ingredients (makes approx. 4 cups):
  • 1 lb. fresh cranberries (reserve 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3-4 large strips orange zest
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. chopped thin strips of orange peel
Step 1: Measure out 1/2 cup of the fresh cranberries and set aside. Add the remaining cranberries, orange juice and zest, vanilla, granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a heavy saucepan. Give the ingredients a stir to combine. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat and cook for 8-10 minutes...stirring often. The cranberries will begin to cook down during this time.
Step 2: Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the maple syrup. Stir to combine. Heat the cranberry sauce for an additional 5-6 minutes, until the cranberries have mostly burst and the sauce is thickened.
Step 3: Remove the saucepan from the heat and discard the large strips of orange zest. Stir in the reserved cranberries and thin strips of orange zest. Stir to combine and let the cranberry sauce cool for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Spoon the warm cranberry sauce into a decorative serving dish. Serve immediately or store in the fridge, covered, until you're ready to serve.
This chunky cranberry sauce is bursting with big flavors and textures! It has a really nice balance of tartness and sweetness. It also features comforting warmth from the addition of brown sugar, maple syrup, and spices. However? The true key to this cranberry sauce is the addition of fresh cranberries at the end. They bring a nice pop of brightness to every bite. This cranberry sauce is very versatile too! Need a quick holiday appetizer? Simply spoon this cranberry sauce on top of a block of cream cheese and spread on graham crackers. Leftovers are also delicious spread on toasted bagels or English muffins in place of jam.

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