One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner. Yep, Thanksgiving! As someone who loves to cook, it’s probably no surprise that a holiday centered around cooking and sharing a big meal together is at the top of my list. But what I truly love is that it’s about quality time with family and friends, rather than buying material things.
Thanksgiving is also a very sentimental time for me and my family. Every year, my parents cook a full-on Thanksgiving meal and for as long as I can remember, I was in the kitchen with them. I played sous chef, grocery runner, table setter, you name it. When I was old enough to graduate to cooking duties, I started off with cranberry sauce – relatively foolproof and quick to make. I remember feeling so proud to have my very own contribution to the Thanksgiving spread. Since then, I’ve added a few more foods to my list, but I always make cranberry sauce.
Over the years, I’ve tried many variations of cranberry sauce, but ultimately come back to my Classic Cranberry Sauce recipe. This last weekend at Friendsgiving, I tried a different take on this recipe…and it was just OK. Lesson learned: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
My Classic Cranberry Sauce recipe balances the tart flavor of the cranberries with the sweetness of the orange juice (and of course, some sugar). I also throw in a cinnamon stick to spice it up and a pinch of salt. I know it sounds odd, but trust me, the salt really brings out the sweetness. In recent years, I’ve made my sauce a bit more grown up with a few tablespoons of Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored cognac liqueur. This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make from start to finish and can be made days ahead of serving. Just store in the refrigerator then leave out a few hours before serving to bring it to room temp.