Recipe: Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce Three Ways

MF Cranberry Sauces
Oh, I know the story. You’re having Thanksgiving dinner with your husband’s side of the family and your Type A mother-in-law has assigned you to bring the cranberry sauce because it’s the only dish she can relinquish control of, and she figures you can’t mess up buying the can and opening it up.

I hate how everybody overlooks cranberry sauce that way.

I’ve got some recipes today that will knock the proverbial socks off your mother-in-law, your turkey, and every other condiment that dares set foot on the Thanksgiving Leftovers Table. (I’m looking at you, mayonnaise!) I guarantee that if you make one, two, or all three of these cranberry sauces for your Thanksgiving feast, you’ll be promoted next year to your rightful place as the Prime Minister of Potatoes and Gravy.

I’ve got a Standard Cranberry Sauce recipe for the old-school crowd, a sweet and sour Fancy Cranberry Sauce recipe for the slightly more adventurous, and finally a Zinger Cranberry Sauce with a hint of horseradish for those who are ready to take cranberries and turkey to the next level. (Trust me, it’s amazing.)

Are you ready to teach your mother-in-law a lesson? Let’s get started!

Standard Cranberry Sauce

2 cups raw, rinsed cranberries
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Allow to sit until you hear a “popping” sound as the cranberries heat and pop open. Stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, mash up the cranberries, allowing all of the natural pectin to be released. This is what gives it a true “jelly” consistency. Leave at a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired consistency. (The longer you cook it, the thicker it becomes.) Remove from heat and allow to chill before serving.

Fancy Cranberry Sauce

2 cups raw, rinsed cranberries
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup orange juice concentrate
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
zest of one orange (optional, but recommended)

Directions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Allow to sit until you hear a “popping” sound as the cranberries heat and pop open. Stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, mash up the cranberries, allowing all of the natural pectin to be released. This is what gives it a true “jelly” consistency. Leave at a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired consistency. (The longer you cook it, the thicker it becomes.) Remove from heat and allow to chill before serving.

Zinger Cranberry Sauce

2 cups raw, rinsed cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 12-ounce jar of pineapple preserves
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish (add more if you want it truly HOT)

Directions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients except for horseradish. Allow to sit until you hear a “popping” sound as the cranberries heat and pop open. Stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, mash up the cranberries, allowing all of the natural pectin to be released. This is what gives it a true “jelly” consistency. Leave at a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired consistency. (The longer you cook it, the thicker it becomes.) Remove from heat and stir in horseradish until completely combined. Allow to chill before serving.

HINT: Because sugar is a natural preservative, you can easily make your cranberry sauce(s) up to two weeks in advance and store them in the fridge. They’ll taste great and you’ll have one less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving Thursday.

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