Saturday 14 December 2013

Cranberry Orange Sauce

So...yeah, it's been a wee while. The Thanksgiving chaos was swiftly followed by preparation for Christmas and a return to the paying workplace for me. I'm not back full time, just two days a week, but it does make life considerably more busy. The photos below were actually taken just before Thanksgiving, would you believe it.

A few people have asked lately what happened to my blog, so I figured this would be a simple start back. And this recipe is certainly simple, incredibly so, especially the list of ingredients.  You only need three things: cranberries, sugar, and oranges.  Well, water too, but I'm assuming if you are reading this you have clean drinking water available.

One of the fantastic things about cranberry sauce is its versatility. The children who came over on Thanksgiving day decided to use it as jam on their bread rolls, and I've known people to put it with peanut butter in a sandwich too.  It is tasty with other meats, or even heated and put on ice cream. Yes, really.

Don't look at me like that.

The cranberries I used on this occasion were (as you can see on the packet) of North American origin. No doubt the fields were flooded to harvest them, they were then refrigerated and flown over just for me, giving them a considerable carbon footprint. But you know what I have in my freezer right now? Scottish grown cranberries! I found them at the farmers market last week. Baffled by their presence, I confirmed with the grower that he had, in fact, grown them himself. He insisted he had, and that he had harvested them by hand as they didn't have any.  So no flooded cranberry fields here. The oranges and sugar are not local.

The recipe comes from Joy of Cooking. My book is falling apart just now, but I'm having difficulty tracking down the exact edition I have, as it is a UK one with UK measurements and ingredients that I got in 2001 and I don't know its ISBN. Someday soon I'm going to have to get a new one as mine is falling to bits, but there has been controversy over its various editions and I don't want to get the wrong one. I do have my mother's 1975 edition, which is fun reading, but I'm scared to use it in its pristine state.

For this recipe it doesn't matter if the cranberries are frozen or fresh, as you'll be boiling them anyway. All you do is put the berries, the zest of a couple oranges, their juice, sugar, and water in a pan together and stick it on the hob. Turn the hob on too, that helps a lot.

As the berries heat up, they brighten in colour.  Sometimes they'll go so dark you'll think they're burning, but they're not. Just keep stirring.

And at this point a baby might cry and you'll have to turn off the heat, go put the baby back to sleep, and then return to the kitchen.  That's ok, it happens.  The sauce will still be just fine.

Don't the cranberries look so purdy?  You can see the skin starting to split on some of them and the sugar has dissolved.

And here we are a bit further down the line. Most of the skins have popped and you can see the seeds spilling out. That's it, really, just let it cool. Pretty simple, and darned tasty. And you can do this several days in advance, then leave it in your fridge for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or just general consumption. If you are the sort of person who has cherry brandy in their house, I think that would taste pretty good in this as well.

Cranberry Orange Relish

450g cranberries
450g sugar
zest 2 oranges
125 ml orange juice (about 2 oranges)
125ml water

Heat ingredients together on a low heat until sugar is dissolved, then simmer until most berries have popped and mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and put into bowl to cool.  Keeps for several days in fridge.

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