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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Cranberry Sauce

I’ve been pondering cranberry sauce for about a week  now.  And truth be told…(I’ll let you in on my little secret)…I have a special place in my heart for canned cranberry sauce.  I just kinda love the perfect round slices from the perfect round can-shaped cylinder.  But that and the homemade stuff are two completely different things.  I was hoping to make something that had a nice, fresh, jammy flavor with flavors that sing, “the holidays are here!”  So I fiddled around this morning, and this is what I came up with…

homemade maple-cranberry sauce
yields a little more than 1 quart

Make the cranberry sauce at least a day in advance to allow the flavors to marry.

I used Grade B maple syrup because it has a stronger maple flavor, but I’m sure Grade A would do just fine.  Also, it’s important to use a wide, shallow pan to poach the cranberries so that they are mostly submerged in the cooking liquid.

  • 2-12 ounce bags of cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 chili pods, broken (or a pinch of chili flake)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a 12-inch saute pan, combine the water, maple syrup, sugar, chili pods, cloves, bay leaf and salt.  Warm over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar and salt and to  allow the other flavors to bloom.  Add the cranberries and turn the heat up to medium, stirring occasionally.  When the cranberry skins begin to pop, turn the heat back down to low.  Continue cooking for a total of about 20 minutes, until most of the berry skins have popped, allowing the poaching liquid to penetrate.  Remove the pan from the heat and cool the sauce either in the same pan or in a shallow dish.  Pour the sauce into jars or a bowl until ready to use.

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And so today, I offer you this cute, fake bird so you don’t have to look at a giant (27-pound!!) raw turkey bobbing in a bag o’ water.  This Thanksgiving we get to cook for 29 people.  Ahhh- the best holiday of the year.  And I’m pretty sure my parents think they’ve won the lottery now that my sister is dating a cook too.

So today’s job is brining the turkey.  This is what we’re gonna do.

(…and slotted for tomorrow…cranberry sauce!)

Brining our turkey

This brine can be increased or decreased depending upon the size of the bird.  This year, we tripled it.

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 gallon room-temp water
  • a few bay leaves
  • half a head of garlic
  • 1/2 bunch of sage
  • 3 whole allspice berries
  • 3 juniper berries

Combine half the water, salt, sugar, bay, garlic, herbs, and spices in a pot large enough to hold it all. Place over high heat and bring to a bare simmer.  This will allow the salt and sugar to dissolve and the aromatics to bloom. Cool to room temperature and add the other half of the water.  Place the turkey in the brining bag* and pour in the brine. We’re going to brine our bird for 3 days.

*If you’re using a brining bag as opposed to a bucket, you’ll need to be sure to rotate it a few times over the next few days to make sure that the whole bird gets equal contact with the brine.

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