Cranberry sauce might be my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Its sweet-tart flavors are the perfect counterpoint to rich roast turkey, stuffing and gravy. After the big meal, I love to slather this sauce on whole wheat waffles, blitz it with butter for an awesome topping for toast and, of course, add a healthy dollop on turkey sandwiches. With these delights in mind, I always make a double batch of my signature sauce, which is a traditional mix of fresh cranberries with orange and lemon juice, offset with a hit of brandy for a little zing.
After the roller coaster ride of emotions following the World Series (we’re a house divided over the Cubs and Indians) and the election (I think we can all agree that was a wild night, no matter how you feel about politics), it feels so nice to turn our attention to the joyful chaos of the holidays. I’ve been working on some fun holiday-themed stories for TheInspiredHome.com and the kids are starting to get excited about seeing their grandparents and cousins for Thanksgiving.
In the meantime, our neighborhood “Friendsgiving” is just a few days away and I’ve been cooking and cleaning all week. This cranberry sauce is always one of the first dishes I prepare since it can hang out happily in the fridge for at least a week. It transports easily too. I always make a batch to bring to my in-laws in Ohio for Thanksgiving. If I’m feeling fancy, I scoop it into a mason jar with a pretty label and a decorative ribbon. If I’m feeling frazzled it goes into a 4 quart plastic container. Tastes great either way.
Brandy Orange Cranberry Sauce
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
2/3 cups orange zest
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon brandy
- Combine orange zest and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Discard zest.
- Add sugar, orange juice, lemon juice and cranberries in saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until cranberries have popped and a small spoonful of liquid gels when placed on a cold plate, about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in brandy. Allow sauce to cool slightly before pouring into jars. Sauce can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.