We’re going to our friends’ home in the neighborhood tomorrow. The main dish that Laura is making is brisket, my favorite meat. I’m bring a potato kugel and carrot soufflé. It sounds more like a meal for Passover or Rosh Hashona than Christmas, but that’s probably because the guests and the hosts are of different backgrounds and religions. How nice to have a melting pot meal!
I decided when I was in the supermarket yesterday that I was dying for cranberry sauce. I saw the beautiful red cranberries, hopefully from our great state of Massachusetts, and I picked up a bag and an orange. Cranberry sauce or cranberry jam is the easiest and quickest thing in the world to make. And it tastes so much better than anything in a can.
I love the cranberry orange taste with meat or with chicken or turkey. I especially love it in a sandwich.
Here’s what you do.
- Rinse the cranberries and remove any that look brown or shriveled. Set aside.
- Wash the orange to remove dirt or wax from the skin. I use vegetable wash that contains lemon juice that breaks down wax. Zest the orange with a microplane or with a grater with the smallest holes if you don’t have a microplane. Be careful just to remove the colored skin, not the pith, the bitter white part.
- Squeeze the juice from the orange. The medium/large navel orange I bought was exactly the right size to yield 1/2 cup of orange juice.
- Measure out the water and the sugar. Set aside. Grab the salt.
Making the Sauce
- Bring 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar to a boil.
- Add the cranberries, orange zest and a pinch of salt.
- Return to a boil. The cranberries make a somewhat loud popping sound that is very funny to hear! You can see them crack.
- Once the pot boils, turn down the heat and stir continuously as the cranberry sauce or jam thickens. Foam may form on the top of the mixture, but just keep stirring and it will disappear.
- Cranberries contain their own pectin so the mixture thickens easily as you stir it. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to thicken. I never know whether to call it sauce or jam. I make mine so thick that it’s more like jam. But if you want yours looser, stop cooking it before it gets too thick!
- Remove from the heat and pour or ladle into prepared jars or a serving bowl. Sometimes I will boil the jars and boil them again when filled to seal them for storage. Not this time. We’ll get it all eaten quickly, I’m sure.
That’s it. It takes about 15 minutes, 20 at the most from start to finish!
Cranberry Orange Sauce or Jam Recipe
Here’s the recipe, though you don’t even need one.
- 1 bag of cranberries, 12-16 oz.
- 1 medium to large orange, zested and juiced to make 1/2 cup of OJ
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- Bring orange juice, water and sugar to a boil.
- Add washed cranberries, zest from the orange and a pinch of salt to the liquid mixture and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium, stirring constantly, till the mixture thickens to desired consistency in 10 minutes or less.
And if I don’t get to talk to you tomorrow, Merry Christmas to you and yours!