Unless you really crave those accordion-like ridges or consider Thanksgiving a failure without hearing that classic shplopping noise, you have no excuse for resorting to canned cranberry sauce.
Homemade cranberry sauce is wildly better than anything you can buy and it takes little time or effort to make. Plus, it's easy to take a basic cranberry sauce and doctor it up in so many delicious ways.
To help you along on your journey from can to greatness, we offer a base recipe for a delicious brown sugar and orange cranberry sauce, plus five ways of taking the flavor in crazy delicious directions. Don't want to use our base recipe? Don't. Use what's written on the bag of fresh cranberries, then use our flavorings.
CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH VARIATIONS
Start to finish: 15 minutes
12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
Pinch of salt
In a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped and softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and select one of the flavor combinations below:
Add 1 minced chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo). Allow to cool, then stir in 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro.
Allow to fully cool, then stir in 1/2 teaspoon truffle oil and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives.
Stir in 1/2 cup crumbled well-cooked bacon, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and an extra 1/2 cup brown sugar.
Stir in 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon and the zest and juice of 1 lemon.
Stir in 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger and 2 tablespoons sweet white miso.