Cranberry Sauce with Mandarin Orange

I have to admit that I like it when someone tells me that they don’t like a food that I do like. This is now a case of “challenge accepted”. I start off with a few questions as to why they are not a fan. Nearly every single time, the evidence leads back to a bad experience with some form of poorly executed fast food or packaging. Think of it as the difference between fresh tuna versus that stuff in a can. You get the idea.

Welcome to my recent conversations about cranberry sauce. Most people think of the oddly rubbery purple cranberry flavored jelly in a can that is basically only served once a year. These poor deprived people have never experienced the amazing tartness of the full cranberry. I know it is supposed to be a super food and it is juiced and snuck into all kinds of products. While I do give credit for the effort, the commercial products pale when compared to the power of fresh cranberries.

By now, you have guessed I am a huge fresh cranberry fan. They are just amazing and shockingly easy to cook with. This year, I went with the a mandarin orange variation I have been wanting to try. Here is the basic recipe to cranberry sauce. The secret is to not get in a hurry and let it simmer until it is dark, thick, and amazing.

(2) cups fresh cranberries – or the 12oz bag from the grocery.
(1) cup of water
(1) cup of sugar

Yup, that is basically it. Rinse the berries first, toss everything into a sauce pan and over medium heat let it cook, stirring occasionally. The berries will split and cook down into the lovely dark color that says they are done. The cooking time should be about ten minutes but they can vary and you know you should not leave the stove while you are actively cooking. Just a quick note, you can always use a little less or a little more sugar depending on your taste preferences.

This year, I wanted to play with the outcome a bit so I added half a cup of mandarin orange slices. I just made sure that their were no seeds then ran the slices through the food grinder/processor just long enough to reduce them to pulp. I tossed that in with everything else. I first, I got a bit of orange juice bubbling up but the cranberries quickly over took that and the color turned out all cranberry color.

Mandarins have a strong flavor and they played well with the cranberry. This year, I get to enjoy my cranberry sauce with a bright refreshing citrus twist.

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