My family usually spends our Thanksgivings with my in-laws, who cook all of the main courses, so I just bring either a side dish or a dessert, if anything. The latest addition to my rotation of contributions is this cranberry sauce, which I presented with my cornbread this year. Cranberry sauce is a great last-minute addition to fill out an autumn or winter potluck meal, because it can be made quickly using only a handful of ingredients—and it can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled. I’ve included a bit of ginger and a hint of chai spice to put my own stamp on this classic condiment. Whenever I make a lot, my eldest and I like to use any leftover sauce in our PB&Js.
1 3/4 cups (6 ounces) cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup (50 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon (7 grams) peeled fresh grated ginger root
1/4 teaspoon ground chai spice
small (1-quart) pot
measuring cups and spoons
kitchen scale (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients in pot. Cook over high heat until mixture comes to a rapid boil—about 5 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until cranberries burst and sauce thickens—about 10 minutes.
NOTES & TIPS
• It makes no difference whether the cranberries are fresh or frozen when you start.
• I regularly buy fresh ginger root, then peel, grate, and freeze it flat in small freezer bags, so I can have it on hand for a long time without spoilage. When needed, I snap off a corner of frozen ginger and weigh out my desired amount—which is more accurate than trying to cram frozen bits into a measuring spoon, and faster than waiting for it to melt.
• The flavors of the ginger and chai spice are intentionally subtle here. I learned the hard way that doubling either one will overpower the flavor of the cranberries.
• Once berries begin to burst (after about 7 minutes), mash any unburst berries with cooking spoon until sauce thickens.
1 cup (four 1/4-cup servings)