Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cranberry Sauce

Every year I make cranberry sauce it gets better. It's a simple Thanksgiving staple that doesn't get the attention and honor it deserves. It can be so much more than a glob of sour to balance the savory mush on a Thankful plate. This year's sauce really tied the meal together; thanks to the brandy, it was complexly smokey and sweet, and the pumpkin pie-style spices lent a horn-of-plenty bouquet.

Spicy Brandy Cranberry Sauce
adapted from here

6 c cranberries

9 tbs brandy

3 cups dark brown sugar

3/4 c orange juice

10 allspice berries

8 cloves

16 black peppercorns

10 cardamom pods, broken in half

4 cinnamon sticks

Thoroughly wash all the cranberries, picking out the shriveled ones. Put them in a saucepan and add the brandy, sugar and orange juice. Tie up the spices in some cheesecloth, add to the cranberry pan, and bring the mixture to a hearty boil, until the cranberry skins crack. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-ish minutes, until the liquid is reduced and it's nice and syrupy. Toss the spice bag, and refrigerate the sauce until gelled and cold. Serve in your grandmother's crystal dish that she said we never use but, OK, we'll use it tonight.