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!
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.