There are several dishes on the table at Thanksgiving that can be polarizing. Should the sweet potatoes be served with or without marshmallows? Is green bean casserole made with cream-of whatever soup, or from scratch? And should turkey gravy have giblets in it? It’s a lot to mull over, but no battle is more fierce than that over whether or not to have a can-shaped, jiggling pillar of cranberry sauce on the table. If you’ve never tried the homemade stuff, you might not get what the big deal is about cranberry sauce, but thanks to Giada De Laurentiis’ easy cranberry sauce recipe, this could be the year you end the debate about canned or homemade cranberry sauce forever.
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Even though it is so easy to make, canned cranberry sauce is traditional for a lot of families, and some might not even realize that it doesn’t take some sort of alchemy to transform tart cranberries into a jammy sauce.
The recipe from De Laurentiis uses just five ingredients: cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup, and a cinnamon stick.
Bring the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, skimming off any foam. Once the mixture is thickened and jammy, you can mash up the cranberries until the sauce has reached the consistency you like.
The sauce, once cooled, with have a spoonable but thick texture dotted with whole and crushed cranberries. The maple syrup and orange juice give the sauce just enough sweetness to counteract the tart cranberries, and even better? It lacks the weird metallic taste of canned cranberry sauce.
There’s bound to be someone at the table who longs for a perfectly round slice of cranberry sauce, so we always do both: have some canned cranberry sauce on the table where it quivers on a plate and looks kind of like dog food, and then a beautiful bowl of our homemade cranberry sauce, ready to grace our plates with its deep crimson-purple splash of color and the tart-sweet balance of flavor that a traditional Thanksgiving meal so sorely needs.
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Watch: Giada De Laurentiis Just Shared a Bunch of Holiday Cooking & Hostess Tips With Us & They Are Brilliant