“What do you eat that with?”, was the first question my mother asked when I told her that I will make a cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner. She did not ask how the sauce tastes (the answer is sweet and sour), and she did not ask how to make it (the answer is like a jam). No, my mother’s question went deeper: does this sauce make any sense at all?!? Honestly, I have asked myself that before, too. We have already celebrated a truly American Thanksgiving here in the States, together with a lovely American family, but neither my husband nor I tried the cranberry sauce last year. Somehow it did not appeal to us.
This year we wanted to have the really big Thanksgiving thing at our place and a cranberry sauce is just mandatory, period. So I got rid of all my prejudices against this inconspicuous, red berry mixture and started to search for a suitable recipe. In the Sunday edition of one of Americas largest newspapers I found what I was looking for: a simple, unpretentious and – as I wished – classic American recipe for a cranberry sauce with apple juice. Friends of ours had to test my first attempt at our Thanksgiving rehearsal dinner.
And who would have thought that: each one of us really enjoyed it and millions of Americans rightfully eat the delicious sauce every year on the third Thursday of November.
Today, I can answer my mother’s question easily and without hesitation that the Cranberry Sauce tastes just delicious alongside some turkey, the mashed potatoes, the dressing*, the sides, yes, it tastes really delicious with everything.
Maybe I’m already Americanized when it comes this but nobody can tell me that this fine touch of sweetness does not go perfectly with a savory meal. And whoever is still in denial will definitely not get any lingonberries for Christmas!
*The dressing is like the turkey stuffing (with bread and other ingredients) but it is baked in a casserole and not in the bird.
Classic American Cranberry Sauce with Apple Juice
- 12 oz cranberries
- 3/4 cup apple juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- peel of 1/4 orange
- Step 1 Start with the cranberries. Open the pack, wash and put them in a small yet tall pot. Add all the other ingredients with a pinch of salt and boil the mixture slowly. It will squeak and hiss at first. Don’t worry about that, it is perfectly normal.
- Step 2 As soon as it foams and the berries soften and begin to burst, you need to cook them for another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Crush the berries that do not burst on their own at the edge of the pot during stirring.
- Step 3 The cranberries, like many other fruits, contain pectin. It is responsible for gelling, saves you one ingredient (the pectin) and creates a jam-like consistency for your sauce. Once you’ve reached that stage and you can actually see the bottom of the pot while stirring, turn off the stove. Remove the orange peels and put it in a suitable bowl or saucière.
- Step 4 After cooling you can eat your cranberry sauce right away or you might store it in the fridge for up to a week. Eat it with traditional Thanksgiving food or pair it with pancakes, camembert or put it onto a bread with cream cheese spread. Just in case you have some leftovers.
Still looking for some inspirations for your Thanksgiving Dinner? Check out my pin board and Enjoy!