November 10, 2015

Cranberry Sauce

Always spring for the fresh-premium cranberries. The
fresh-kinda-ok cranberries just look...wrong.
It's the holiday season, defined by Hallmark and Walmart as "the period between 1 AM on November the first, and 1 AM on January second when holiday music is played non-stop in all stores, festive decorations are placed strategically by sale items, and employees are forced to wear silly hats." The actual holiday season, at least to me and all other Americans who haven't yet submitted out wills to the enemy, starts the week of Thanksgiving. But who am I to say that we shouldn't be posting recipes for stuffing and turkey this early? I love Thanksgiving, so I won't complain too hard. Especially not after consuming all of that festive eggnog I bought on sale. Which reminds me, I need to go shopping. 


12 oz Whole Cranberries
6 oz Whole Blackberries 
3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1/4 cup of White Sugar
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
1 smallish sized human's pinch of Salt
1 smallish sized human's pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Here's the problem with cranberry sauce. Despite being highly awesome, and surprisingly easy to make, it suffers from everybody having grown up with the canned glop (which is pretty much just gelatinous sugar goop), and not knowing that real cranberry sauce tastes exactly like holiday cheer and winning the big cash prize on your local radio station's phone-in contest. It's true. Look it up. For some people this means that they refuse to try legit cranberry sauce under any circumstances. For others it means they make weird fusion dishes like mango curry cranberry chutney. Either way these people should be banned from your holiday table. 

Once you've shunned the nonbelievers, throw all of your ingredients into a pot and crank the heat all the way up to...low. Cook the pot of goodness, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes at which point the sugar should be dissolved, the cranberries should just be starting to soften, and you should be wondering how this stupid pot full of very solid berries is ever going to turn into cranberry sauce. Then turn the heat up to medium, and let it cook down, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes when the cranberries start to burst. It's less dramatic than it sounds. At this point, it should look and smell like the holidays. And happiness. And cranberry sauce. Pretty much, it will look and smell like everything that 10 year old Harry Potter probably daydreamed of while he was living in a cupboard and eating spiders for extra protein, which I assume he did

Nothing says "holidays" like semi-gelatinous goop that makes
everything it touches taste incredible. Dickens said that.
Once you've got your sauce looking fictional-orphan-tantalizingly good, take the back of your spoon and lightly smash the remaining whole berries until most of them are crushed and your sauce has started to thicken. If it's still kind of thin, don't worry. It thickens up a lot as it cools down. There's very little chance of your sauce staying super thin and ruining your meal for everybody. The next part is gonna be the hardest. Wait. Without eating it. For what seems like forever, until your sauce is room temperature. Then put it in the fridge and wait some more. For no less than half an hour. It's gonna suck, but your patience will be rewarded. Take it out of the fridge, gather or make some friends (or bribe strangers, who will be friends after they taste this, assuming they're not crazy people who end up harvesting your organs), and throw together an awesome holiday meal. Bonus points if you really get in the holiday spirit by rubbing it in the faces of those people you were shunning earlier. Which means you'll have to Un-shun them for a minute or two, rub their faces in it, and then re-shun then before they know what hit them. Nobody said holiday bonus points came easy. 

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