For many of us, Thanksgiving dinners growing up leaned heavily on processed and prepared foods that come in cans and boxes — cream of mushroom soup and fried onions for green bean casserole, stuffing mix, and of course, cranberry sauce. And even if you tend to go all Ina Garten on Thanksgiving these days, there's nothing wrong with taking a little shortcut and serving canned cranberry sauce so you can devote your energy and stovetop space to other dishes.
Still, store-bought cranberry sauce isn't necessarily fated to be forgettable. Whether you prefer the fully jellied kind, or the kind with whole cranberries in it, 15 minutes and a little creativity is all you need to jazz up the fruity condiment. Instead of plopping it straight from the can into a serving dish, warm it up first on the stovetop and customize it with other ingredients to add flavor and texture. We'll bet that even the most cranberry sauce-averse guests will be curious enough to give it a try.
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It's typical to serve cranberry sauce at room temperature, but a hot cranberry sauce with sweet, tart aromas wafting from it can make the meal feel a little more luxurious. If you're using whole berry sauce, you can pour it right from the can into a small pot or saucepan, but if you're using the jellied kind, you'll do best to cut it into chunks and stir those together as they liquefy.
In either case, you'll want to keep a close eye on the heat so it doesn't burn or accidentally cook off more than you wanted. Bring it to a low boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for roughly around 10 minutes, or however long it takes to get to a heat and consistency that you're happy with.
You could transfer the warmed sauce directly to the serving bowl from the stove and just enjoy it as is, with the heat really helping its flavors open up and marry with everything else on your plate. But if you have the time, this is your chance to elevate and customize the flavor by simply making a few additions as it simmers.
Fruit, Nut, And Booze It Up
As far as what to add to cranberry sauce, you're only limited by your own preferences and what you have on hand. Some home cooks like using frozen berries to round out the flavor and add some sweetness and texture. A bag of mixed raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries is likely to run you less than $5 — or nothing, if you already have one haunting the back of your freezer.
Lemon is also a no-brainer: Add some juice and zest to amplify the tartness of the cranberries. If you want even more texture, you can add chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts. In addition to soft crunchiness, they'll impart their sweet, mild flavors. Ginger (preferably fresh ginger root, if you have it) would also be a lovely addition, brightening up the sweet-sour jam and pairing well with other fall-spiced dishes, like sweet potato casserole or candied yams. And if you're looking to get really creative, you can experiment with adding chile peppers for some heat, or pour in a little champagne or brandy. Just be sure to simmer the sauce long enough to let the alcohol burn off to make sure your deliciously hot cranberry sauce is safe for everyone to eat.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.