Saturday, January 24, 2015

Quick and Easy Cranberry Sauce

This recipe is kind of a cop-out, but turns out very delicious.

This is a twist on the generic and horrifying blob of cranberry puree log that was the obligatory ornament on every Thanksgiving and Christmas table. No one ever eats it and it's the last bit of leftover that gets thrown out at the end of the season. Well, I've taken the basic ingredients and turned the obligatory log into a sauce that your guests will both eat AND enjoy. Imagine that!


1 can cranberry sauce w/ whole cranberries
*Note: if you can only find the canned sauce that comes out in one nasty log, never fear, you can just double the dried cranberries added to the sauce and cook longer to reconstitute the cranberries.
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
2 Tbl brown sugar or dark cane syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

This recipe can be made in the microwave. Holiday dinners are always hectic and the cranberry sauce is definitely not the highlight. Choose your favorite microwave safe bowl and heat all the ingredients together. You may need to add a Tbl of water to the mix in order to hydrate to cranberries better. Never heat for longer than 3-5 min at a time. There is plenty of sugar in the sauce between the canned sauce, cranberries and added dark sugar that the whole thing can caramelize quickly. I have caught the whole thing on fire before, so please pay attention!

When cooking in a sauce pan over the stove I like to throw the dehydrated cranberries into the pan first, so that they toast a bit on the outside. I like the flavor that is pulled out by the pan heat. You don't need to add any oil to your pan, it ruins the texture and changes the flavor. If you want to be a bit decadent you can add a pat of butter to the toasting cranberries and then mix into the sauce. Be careful when adding a fat to the cranberries; they will juice up and start burning in the pan. Have the wet ingredients (the canned sauce base and sugar) ready to add to the pan to avoid that problem. Add the spicing last and stir well to integrate all the ingredients fully.

Once the cranberries start to plump up--and this is for either microwave or stove top cooking--the sauce is done. You can get more flavors out of the spicing if you cook for about ten more minutes, or you can cook the sauce the day before and then reheat before serving. Easy-peasy!

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