Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cranberry Sauces - Thanksgiving Prep #3

A black silhouette in front of a white screen moving from left to right; the telltale outline of a chef's toque and apron. Suddenly a rolling pin appears on screen menacingly taking aim on our hero; in a flash of crab-like reflexes, a saute pan flies at the bad guy knocking him silly. Henry Mancini begins to play.

The name's Cook, Crabby Cook.

Martini's, shaken not stirred, caviar and the '90 Bollinger. Suave, debonair, envied by men, irresistible to women, agent 00CC cuts a dashing figure as he prepares his way through the world's finest recipes.

When the time comes for the "CrabbyCook Story" to be made into a movie it seems only reasonable that the current James Bond should play the lead role. I also think we'd need to bring back enchantress Octopussy as the evil antagonist, after all, crabs HATE octopi.

The title? Well in honor of the new James Bond film, I think "A Quantity of Sauces" has a nice ring to it don't you?

So, in further preparation for Thanksgiving, here are two, yes that's right, two, cranberry sauce recipes. One was described as "sophisticated" by Gourmet Magazine, (I found it more work than it was worth). The other is a bit more traditional. Of course, in the continuing spirit of full disclosure, Crabby prefers and only consumes Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. Furthermore this sauce must be ejected from the can as a whole log with ridges intact. But, if you're looking for something homemade and involved, then enjoy...

A Quantity of (Cranberry) Sauces
from Gourmet, November, 2008

Cranberry, Quince & Pearl Onion Compote

1/2 lb pearl onions (preferably red; approx 2 cups)
2 cups apple juice or cider
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP cider vinegar
6 cloves
1 tsp coriander seed, ground
2 quinces, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 (12 oz.) bag of fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed if frozen)

Trim root end of each onion and cut an "X" into each. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove from water, allow to cool slightly, then peel.

Bring juice, sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil in a medium sized heavy duty saucepan. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Add onions and quinces and simmer, uncovered stirring occasionally until tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.

Add cranberries and simmer 7 minutes. Discard cloves. (This is a pain but necessary - be sure to count out the cloves so you know how many to extract) Transfer fruit and onions to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Boil the remaining syrup, if necessary, until reduced to 1/2 cup.

Pour syrup over compote and cool to room temperature. Can be made up to 3 days ahead; be sure to warm to room temperature before serving.

Cranberry-Tangerine Conserve

2 tangerines (oranges are acceptable in a pinch)
1 (12 oz.) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tsp grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins (chopped roughly if large)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter taste)

Peel a 4 by 1 inch strip of zest from 1 tangerine, making sure to only take the rind and none of the white pith.

Squeeze 1/3 cup of juice from the tangerines.

Bring juice, zest strip and remaining ingredients to a boil in a heavy-duty medium sized saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Simmer uncovered until the berries have burst, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Discard the zest before serving.

The conserve can be made 2 days ahead.

There you go - a couple different cranberry sides to accompany the one true Ocean Spray. The "sophisticated" compote recipe does take some prep work, but gives an interesting flavor. The more traditional conserve recipe should satisfy the sweet-sour tooth of most of your diners.

Until next time crablings, remember, you can do it, you can cook.

P.S. I toyed with the idea of basing this post on the premise of the old television show, "The Fugitive", but somehow writing about a crab on the lam just sounded silly.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Oh Crabby One, for admitting to a preference for Ocean Spray ridged, cylindrical-shaped jellied cranberry sauce, the very condiment which has graced our grandmothers', our mothers' and our Thanksgiving tables, and whose absence would certainly portend Turkey Day disaster (and we consider ourselves somewhat gourmand-ish). Once, and only once, did a guest dare to make and bring a home-concocted cranberry brew, such as the recipes you've offered, and there wasn't a single taker. Every diner at the table instead opted for a slice of the ridged jellied stuff. Yum.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for Thanksgiving! Thanks for the cranberry recipes. I like the tangerine one.

Anonymous said...

These sauces sound very interesting (and "A Quantity of Sauces" should obviously be immediately turned into a film.)

I recently made a very nice red onion-cranberry relish that I'm looking forward to re-making for the holidays. You can never have too many cranberry options!

Vicki said...

Ah, Ocean Spray cranberry sauce! I love the "schloomp" sound it makes as it pops out of the can.

Maggie said...

I make an orange-walnut raw relish every year but I'll admit I can't do without the jellied stuff as well. That sucking noise when it comes out of the can is the best part.

I still have a few quince left from my father-in-law's tree. I'll have to try that recipe.

www.crabbycook.com said...

It's amazing how many "closet" Ocean Spray lovers there are out there. Say it loud and say it proud: "I love my Ocean Spray".

I think we all need to protest to the company to bring back the old style can, it's nearly impossible to open the bottom properly and thus get that perfect slide.

Maggie, try the quince recipe, it's not exactly traditional sauce, but just make sure to have an OcSpray safety net around and everything will be fine.