Are you ready for the big day? We don't live close to family, so Turkey Day is always a fairly laid-back affair with just the three of us. We do, however, really enjoy a good meal, so I just got back from the grocery store and have finally planned my menu. I am the only one in my immediate family that enjoys cranberries, but this is so good, I can't not make it.
If you are looking to mix it up a bit this year in the cranberry department, I can't recommend this recipe enough! The apples and spice moderate the somewhat astringent vibe of the cranberries. Currents are totally optional, but I love them in here. They add a lovely pop of color and flavor, and since they are cooked in the sauce, the texture does not stand out in any weird way.
If you have a bag of cranberries and some apples and an orange, you can make this sauce in a jiffy, and your guests will be so excited by how deliciously complex this dish is compared to the glop that comes out of the can!
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Yield: 2-3 cups
1 bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
1 orange, zested, supremed, and juiced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp spice mix (mix 1/4 tsp of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves)
1/4 cup currants (optional)
1 TBS brandy (optional)
In a saucepan, bring the cranberries, orange juice and zest, sugar, and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the berries start to pop, about 5-10 minutes. Add the apple, orange sections (cut out so that you do not end up with the membrane - if you're not sure what I mean, look up "how to supreme an orange"), and currents (if using) and cook over medium low heat until the apple is tender. Stir periodically to ensure the mixture does not scorch on the bottom.
When the apple is tender, mix together 1/4 teaspoon of the following dried spices: ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Then use 1/4 teaspoon of that mixture to spice to sauce. You can save the remaining mixture for later or discard it. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes before removing from the heat, cooling, and decanting into a bowl to refrigerate before serving.
NOTES: This sauce is quite delicious warm and you could very easily serve it right after removing it from the heat.
I love this recipe, but I have to begin with a bit of a caveat. I may love broccoli more than any person on the planet. Whatever that gene is that makes you not like broccoli? I sure don't have it. I adore this vegetable. Not only does it taste great to me - even just simply steamed - but it is so good for you! Some people grab a yogurt when they feel like their gut is feeling wonky; my go to is broccoli. I aways feel so good after I've eaten it.
Last year, I planted "aspabroc" or "broccolini" in my garden. What an amazing and surprising harvest that was! I planted eight of them in early May and started harvesting, I think, in late June. I harvested regularly all the way through early October. You don't ever get that with regular heading broccoli! And it tasted amazing. I have my seedlings started for this year, but in the meantime, I have to settle for the store-bought stuff.
One other gardening mention here... two years ago, I planted garlic for the first time. I bought two varieties. One was a really common variety that everyone talked about liking. It is called Music and it is a fine variety. The other variety, I bought only a small amount of because there weren't a lot of folks talking about it online, but I liked the description of it. I. Love. That. Garlic. This past fall, this special variety was all I planted. It is called Georgian Crystal. I tried it because the description said it was mild when raw (I want to enjoy lots of garlic flavor when raw, not a hot spiciness that some varieties have) and is also great when roasted. That description fits this garlic to a T... and it makes big cloves to boot! It is amazing - the perfect multi-purpose garlic. I was surprised at how easy garlic is to grow. I highly recommend growing your own if you are garden inclined.
This is a super easy way to enjoy broccoli. The garlic adds a nice, toasty umami flavor to it. You can chop the pieces any size that you like - obviously, the smaller the pieces, the faster it will cook. Pre-heat a non-stick pan with a pat of butter. Then toss in the broccoli and the garlic. Put a lid on and put the heat on medium. Shake the pan from time to time to stir the broccoli. If you notice it browning too much too fast, simply turn the heat down.
Use a fork periodically to check how tender the broccoli is. When it is close to being done, you can turn the heat up to get some nice browning as it finishes up. Don't forget to salt before serving. This is a great side dish for a quick weeknight meal as it takes very little effort to prepare. The broccoli cooks in less than ten minutes.
Blistered Broccoli with Garlic
broccoli or broccolini, split into manageable spears
1 large clove of garlic, minced, per half pound of broccoli
2 tsp butter
salt to taste
Pre-heat a non-stick pan while you prepare the broccoli and garlic. Add the butter and swirl it around as it melts. Add the broccoli and garlic and cover with a lid. Cook over medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring occasionally to brown evenly. Reduce heat if broccoli is browning too quickly. The broccoli takes less than ten minutes to cook if you like it with a bit of a bite to it. When broccoli is nearly as tender as you would like, you can remove the lid and turn the heat up to put a last bit of browning on it. Salt to taste and serve.