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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanksgiving on My Mind: Bogged Down

Last summer we were in Cape Cod, and we stopped by one of the oldest cranberry bogs in America.  It was exciting for me because I love all things cranberry and somewhat annoying to Charlie and Kate when I made them pose for pictures near the bog.  Nonetheless, our visit to the bog was cool because I had never actually seen a cranberry bog before except on the Ocean Spray commercials.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I think the cranberry is a very misunderstood fruit and that's why I'm starting my Thanksgiving "coverage" with it.  The cranberry is kind of sour, and that's off putting to some people.  It also really only makes one major appearance a year, that is at Thanksgiving.  And, because it has to share the show with the stuffing and the yams, it's kind of like the ugly stepsister to the most popular girl at the lunch table. Cranberries are tolerated but mostly ignored.

What a bummer because cranberries are so delicious.   They are yummy not only as a relish, but also in stuffings, cookies, and quick breads.  And, cranberry juice is, of course, famous for being a key component in every single girl's favorite cocktail, the Cosmopolitan.

Cranberry sauce is a classic at Thanksgiving.  One of the great things about cranberry sauce is that it benefits from being made ahead of time.  The longer it sits, the more the flavors can meld together.  It also gets more gelatinous, which is nice too. Sometimes I even make more than one kind, maybe one that is cooked and another that is not.  Here are a couple of my favorites. If you have leftovers, try using it as a spread on toast.  That way you can have a taste of Thanksgiving after the other leftovers are long gone.

Cranberry Grape Compote
(Martha Stewart)


1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
3 cups seedless red grapes
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring cranberries, grapes, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer until most of the cranberries have popped and the grapes are falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat; add the salt to the cranberries and stir to combine.  Let cool to room temperature (compote will thicken as it cools).  Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Dried Cherry and Cranberry Sauce


2 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Bring cranberry juice to a simmer in a heavy, large saucepan. Remove from heat.  Add dired cherries and let stand for 10 minutes.  Mix in sugar, cranberries, and cloves.  Cook over medium-high heat until cranberries pop, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Chill until cold.  Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cranberry-Apple Chutney
(Martha Stewart Living, 2010)


1 cup unfiltered cider vinegar'1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup mixed dried fruit, such as currants, golden raisins, and chopped prunes
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
10 whole cloves crushed with the side of a knife (1/2 teaspoon)
2 whole cinnamon sticks
12 ounces fresh cranberries

Bring vinegar, sugar, onion, dried fruit, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon sticks to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.  Add cranberries.  Reduce heat to medium, and simmer gently until cranberries are tender and start to burst, 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, and let stand until cooled. Refrigerate.

1 comment:

  1. Cranberries deserve more respect! Great recipes!