Step away from the can.  You know the one.  Hiding in your pantry all year, only to be pulled out at the last minute on Thanksgiving, schlooped stealthily onto a plate, and sliced into perfectly ridged and jiggling rings that end up aimlessly scraped around plates piled high with home-cooked morsels of real food.  Who wants to eat fake cranberry sauce when there’s roast turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, poppy seed rolls, butter-laden stuffing, and a host of other dishes to squeeze onto that already-too-full table?  My husband claims he likes cranberry sauce from a can.  I don’t want to believe him.

My grandma’s cranberry sauce is probably the easiest Thanksgiving dish at my family’s feast.  Dump some stuff in a pan and let it cook for a while.  That’s it.  The instructions even tell you not to stir.  If you’ve got a bag of cranberries hiding in the freezer from last year’s clearance shelf, dig them out and make this.  There’s still time!

Cranberry SauceCranberry Sauce
Time:  20-25 minutes
Serves 8-10

1 cup sugar (you can cut it down to 3/4 cup if you like; I won’t tell)
1/2 cup plus 2 T. water
2 cups cranberries (fresh OR frozen, unthawed)
1 peeled, cored apple, sliced thin
1/2 stick cinnamon
zest from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1/2 orange

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; add remaining ingredients.  Gently simmer without stirring 15 minutes (20 minutes if using frozen berries).  Cool; remove cinnamon.  Chill before serving.

Cranberry Sauce