Orange-cranberry sauce

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Posted: Friday, November 22, 2019 6:54 am

I love my family, but “sophisticated” isn’t exactly a word I’d use to describe our crew.

Loving? Crazy? Hilarious? Those all apply. But we’re mostly practical sorts, whether it comes to homes, cars and even food.

Especially at Thanksgiving, my parents preferred to focus on high-quality basics: Juicy turkey, fluffy mashed potatoes and my dad’s delectable gravy.

If we were feeling extra audacious, we might put out a bowl of baby dill pickles.

So the only time I experienced cranberry sauce was when Grandma hosted Thanksgiving at the Rumer family farm near Wimbledon. There we experienced the curious mix of Thanksgiving additions that never graced our family’s home table – exotic delights such as dressing, seven-layer salad and sweet potatoes.

But I never really understood the whole cranberry sauce thing. Was it a side dish? A condiment? Was it actually sauce or jelly?

And – most importantly – was it supposed to stay in the shape of the can or be mushed up?

In fact, my strongest association with cranberry sauce is an old episode of “The Simpsons” where Bart is in charge of the cranberry sauce. He flips over the can and waits as the mixture slowly falls away from the can with a sucking sound and lands in the dish in the shape of the can. “Ah, cranberry sauce a la Bart,” he says.

But back when I started learning how to cook, and my parents were hosting Thanksgiving for Mom’s side of the family, I wanted to experiment with a few new side dishes. I was looking for some recipes that weren’t too complicated, that I could make ahead of time and that would travel well.

Enter this easy homemade cranberry sauce. Fresh cranberries are cooked down with orange juice and sugar until the cranberries pop and this delectable sauce forms.

The sauce is tart and sweet and has a hint of orange, which goes so well with cranberry. (In fact, you can amp up that orange flavor by adding some orange zest to the mix, if you’d like.)

This is so tasty I could eat it for dessert, and the color of the cranberries is just gorgeous.

But it’s still a simple, practical recipe for my loving, crazy, hilarious and unsophisticated family.

In fact, when I first sent my recipe photos to my brother, the Banner’s main layout guy, I was marveling at the beautiful ruby red cranberries in their captivating glossy sauce.

“Is that grape soup?” my brother texted me.

“Grape soup?” I replied. “It’s cranberry sauce.”

“THIS is cranberry sauce,” he said, sending me a link to the clip of Bart Simpson slowly plopping out his canned cranberries.

Touche.

For the recipe, see the Banner's online or print edition.

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