This is the cranberry sauce for those who like it chunky and not too sweet. Ocean Spray used to make something just like it when I was a kid – came in a glass jar and was a huge improvement over the gelatinous sugary pureed stuff that tastes like the metal can…. Unfortunately, they either stopped making it or I stopped being able to find it anywhere. Which turned out ok since this is much better (than can or jar) and it only takes about 20 minutes start to finish. The orange juice plus rind is a great addition and the fresh bay leaf (which I get from my friend Sharon) adds interest. But on to the easy preparation.
The only trick to this is make sure you stand over it till it comes to a boil, then lower the heat, set the timer and don’t let it bubble for more than 15 minutes. If it starts to thicken after 12 or 13 minutes go ahead and cut the heat. You can leave it in the pot to cool, just make sure it’s off the burner.
I once made the mistake of letting it boil too long and somehow through the weird alchemy of pectin congealing, the sauce sets up after 15 and totally falls apart after 20 or 30. I attempted to salvage my runny sauce by adding, not gelatin because I didn’t have any, but cornstarch. This gave it the rubbery consistency of a week old diner pie and of course it was milky and unappetizing.
So the lesson here is that a watched pot will boil to perfection as long as it doesn’t boil too long.
- 2 8 oz. bags of cranberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 small bay leaf
- Put cranberries, sugar, and water in a pot and give it a stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Zest the orange rind & then squeeze the juice into the pot.
- Add spices.
- Bring to a boil then cut the heat to medium and let cook for exactly fifteen minutes.
If you do halve it go ahead and use the whole orange, juice & zest.
Optional add ins for flavor could be cloves or cardamom seeds.
If you don't have a cinnamon stick add a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon, not more. A little goes a long way.
Bay leaf?! Great idea. I love this recipe.
Carine Clary says
It gives it that little extra something. And it lasts forever in the fridge. Like months. Literally.