My simple cranberry sauce will only take 20 minutes but tastes like it came straight out of a gourmet French kitchen! It takes 4 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time to have this delicious and simple cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table right alongside your perfect turkey!
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I was 9 or 10 and it was one of the first Thanksgiving’s my mom made in the states. The concept of making a turkey was foreign to my mom because in the Motherland we rarely made turkey. And pairing it with a cranberry sauce was even odder to my mom.
By the way make sure you check out my Simple Moist One Pan Turkey and Potatoes for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners! It is beyond spectacular!
So she did what all her American clients recommended…she bought the stuff in the can. Upon unveiling it an hour before the dinner, I remember her and my babushka looking at each other in moderate disgust at the can’s imprint on the jelly and the odd sound it made as it slid out of the can. My mom refused to serve the cranberry jelly as it was, instead she told my grandmother to smash it up and make it look pretty with some oranges garnishing it. My mom thought it looked pretty…but when she tasted it she could not understand why Americans would eat jelly with turkey.
Because I was the picky eater that I was, I never touched the cranberry sauce, I gleefully gnawed on my turkey drumstick and gave dirty looks to the red looking jelly on the table. It was not until years later that I tasted the turkey and cranberry combo and realized what perfection it was.
This year when I was looking for recipes for my “blogger” Thanksgiving…
Blogger Thanksgiving: This is the month of Thanksgiving recipes that all food bloggers fill their homes with in their search for the ultimate recipes for their blogs.
I searched for the ultimate cranberry sauce recipe. There were so many out there my head started to spin. All I knew was that I wanted orange in there because it reminded me of my mom and I knew she was on to something there. And then I stumbled upon my friend Nagi’s recipe. How an Aussie who does not even celebrate Thanksgiving was my inspiration is beyond me. But the recipe seemed to make perfect sense and I know her recipes work…so I was gold.
My mom was right by the way…the canned cranberry sauce IS jelly. But classic homemade cranberry sauce is anything but that. It looks like jelly because of the naturally occurring pectin in the fruit that causes it to resemble jellies that have been thickened with unnaturally derived pectin. There in lies the ONLY similarity.
A combination of fresh (or frozen) cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice are our base for this luscious sauce. But the surprise ingredient comes in at the end. I add in Elderflower liquor. That sweet and extremely aromatic liquor made from elderflowers. It’s heavenly and is the perfect accent to this sour/sweet sauce.
So this year, just do yourself a favor, throw those cranberries into a pot and make yourself a beautiful homemade sauce and use the can of cranberry sauce as your door stop.
Simple Cranberry Sauce with Citrus
- 16 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3 tbsp Elderflower Liquor
- juice and zest of half an orange
Add cranberries into a sauce pan and set over low heat. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes or until super saucy.
Remove ½ cup of cranberries and set aside.
Add all of the ingredients and cook for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the stove. Allow to cool. Add the 1/2 cup of cranberries to the rest of the sauce once cooled.
Serve garnished with orange zest.
The classic elderflower liquor is St. Germaine. But there are plenty of other brands that I have had that are significantly less expensive.
Because of the pectin in the fruit, the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. This will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
***Recipe adapted from RecipeTin Eats***