Blood Orange Cranberry Sauce

If you’re a fan of cranberry sauce, skip the can. This recipe is the way to go. It’s almost like a chunky cranberry chutney rather than a sweet jellied “sauce”. With the blood orange and the cranberries, the acidity in this sauce cuts through all the richness of the gravy, stuffing and other dishes on a typical holiday plate. Plus, cranberries have natural pectin, so the sauce thickens up on its own when cooked.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz (340 g) fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 blood orange, juiced
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

 

For thicker cranberry sauce, stir in a cornstarch slurry. Mix together 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water until the cornstarch dissolves. Bring the cranberry sauce to a boil then slowly drizzle in some of the slurry until the sauce simmers and thickens. Add the slurry gradually, adjusting the total amount to get the thickness you like.

Instructions

  1. Mince the shallot. You want the pieces pretty small. Heat the oil over medium heat then add the shallot and saute for a minute or so. Watch close: shallots can burn quick.
  2. Stir in the cranberries and a big sprig of thyme. You can strip the leaves from the thyme but for this dish we like to leave the thyme sprig whole then pluck it out just before serving.
  3. Squeeze in the blood orange juice then stir in the lemon zest and maple syrup. Only pure maple syrup will do, not that artificial corn syrup crap you pour on pancakes at diners. C’mon, we’re from New England! Go pure. It really helps complement the sweet flavors of cranberry and orange here. Cook until the cranberries release their liquid, break apart a bit, and thicken up the mixture, 10 minutes or so, stirring now and then. It’ll look loose and saucy in the pan but will thicken up as it cooks, and even more if you chill it.
  4. Remove the cooked thyme sprigs just before serving and garnish with a fresh thyme sprig or even a sprig of parsley if that’s what you have.
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