Sunday, November 13, 2011

Maple Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Rinse, Strain, Pick Out Stems & Bad Berries
We always had the canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving when I was growing up. I don't remember exactly when it happened, but one year, somebody decided to make it fresh and it caused a little revolt from everyone who wanted the canned stuff, so from that point forward there were always two cranberry sauces. Sound familiar? I remember trying to make the canned stuff look classy by slicing it on an oval plate and sprinkling some nuts around the edge. I also remember trying to make cranberry sauce that everyone would like more than the canned stuff more than once. I would read recipes online and adapt them but I never loved the end result. This past weekend, I tried my hand at it again and I swear... I finally nailed homemade cranberry sauce.
Local Organic Cranberries
I read a few recipes online and didn't like any of the suggestions. I don't like citrus zest in my cranberry sauce. I don't like white sugar in anything. So, I started my own recipe and built a new cranberry sauce from the ground up. I can't believe nobody ever thought of this before, but I've never seen a cranberry sauce recipe with maple syrup and I don't understand why. Think about it. Cranberries come from New England. Maple Syrup comes from New England. They seem like a match made... well... in nature! This sauce is so simple and I love how the complex sweetness of the maple cuts the tartness of the cranberries!
In a medium pot over medium heat, combine 1/2 c Maple Syrup (the kind Rick Perry played with on his last trip to New Hampshire) with 1/2 c Water (more/less depending on the consistency you're after) with 1 lb of fresh cranberries (they're in season now and won't be for much longer so get them while they're fresh!). Throw in 2 whole cinnamon sticks. Add 1 tb minced Crystallized Ginger and/or 1/2 tb grated fresh ginger. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until cranberries pop. Serve warm or chilled, chunky or blended. This part depends entirely on your taste! I like mine warm and blended and love using it as a garnish on a plate. You don't have to eat turkey to love cranberry sauce. I plated my stuffed delicata squash with blended cranberry sauce and ended up licking it right off the plate! SO GOOD! 
Chop that GINGER!