Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brandied Cranberries

Never fear dear readers. Lest you think I’ve completely forgotten about Thanksgiving and all of its culinary possibilities, I’ve decided to post a recipe that could certainly be included in this year’s gluttonous, er, bountiful festivities. But first, a question: What do you get when you cross traditional cranberry sauce with more than a couple shots of good liquor? The answer: brandied cranberries.

Not as saucy as your usual cranberry sauce, but softer and more syrupy than a relish, brandied cranberries offer a different take on a classic Thanksgiving condiment. Fresh cranberries are tossed with sugar, orange zest and brandy, then baked in the oven until they are softened and almost candied. And let’s not forget the extra kick of flavor from the brandy. (I’m sure most, if not all, of the alcohol cooks out of the cranberries while baking, but kiddos and those of you working on kiddos might want to eat in small doses.)

The recipe couldn’t be easier. It’s definitely a good option for busy days (and big holiday dinners) when you want to impress your guests with something homemade that requires barely more effort than opening a can. Not that there’s anything wrong with the stuff in the can – especially the jellied stuff with the ridges on it – but why not show off a little? It’s a heck of a lot easier than roasting a turkey!
Brandied Cranberries
Adapted from Simply Recipes

12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brandy
Zest of 1 large orange

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Wash cranberries and pick over to remove any stems or mushy cranberries.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir thoroughly to combine.

Transfer cranberry mixture to an 8x8 baking dish and place in oven.

Begin checking the cranberries after about an hour. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed. If they are not ready, give the cranberries a stir and continue cooking, checking every 15 minutes. (My cranberries were ready in about an hour and 45 minutes, but my oven is a little slower than most.)

Cool to room temperature and enjoy, or refrigerate until ready to eat. I like it best cold out of the refrigerator.

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