How many cranberry sauces do you have on the table during your Thanksgiving dinner? Every year, we end up with a can-shaped blob of the processed stuff and, my favorite, the fresh, whole berry sauce. I’ve heard some families stock three varieties or more! Who would believe that cranberry sauce divides people more quickly than turkeys, stuffing, or even sweet potatoes?
Then again, there was a near riot when I announced I’d be making a sweet potato purée with bacon and homemade marshmallow topping at my [first family] Thanksgiving this year. Apparently only the bagged Jet puffed pillows will do.. Alas.
I’ve developed this total obsession with rosemary this year, and for good reason. It adds this subtle herbed quality–wintry, yet tamed. It works perfectly in this homemade cranberry sauce, infusing the tart berries with a depth that you’ve never otherwise had. The use of fresh orange juice and zest balances the tartness with a sweet acidity, and I promise you..
you’ll never go back. You will ban can-shaped varietals from your table. You’ll make Aunt Susan cry–cry, I tell you–and it will be her fault. Why?!
Because how dare she insult your cranberried perfection with that Ocean Spray 3-for-$5 junk–you spit a little when you enunciate the end of this sentence, like you’re ridding your palette of a terrible taste. Oh..
I started this post calmly and ended it in rosemary cranberry sauce evangelism, but you’ll understand when you make it. You really will.
You probably already have cranberries and oranges on your Thanksgiving shopping list, so toss a packet of fresh rosemary in your cart and thank me later. Or thank me in advance. I’m pretty confident about this one, you see..
Rosemary Cranberry Sauce with Orange
- 12 oz . fresh cranberries , picked through and rinsed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (or juice of one orange, add water to make 1/2 cup)
- 1 3 " stick of fresh rosemary , wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with kitchen twine
- 1/2 tsp . finely grated orange zest
- small stick of fresh rosemary , for garnish
Combine fresh cranberries, sugar, orange juice (and extra water, if necessary), and rosemary in cheesecloth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer 1 - 4 minutes, depending on how many berries you like whole. The berries will pop as they cook, and you can help this process by pressing them against the sides of the pot with the back of a spoon.
When you're satisfied with the consistency, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in orange zest. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove rosemary from pan and press the cheesecloth against the side of the saucepan with the back of a spoon to extrude all juices. Transfer to serving bowl. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate.
Before serving, let come back up to room temperature. Garnish with additional fresh rosemary.
Loosely adapted from Fine Cooking