Here's the first of two Thanksgiving recipes. I figure that I'll post the rest the day after, when the sight of a turkey or pie makes you want to hit poultry. Or on Valentines Day.
One of the saddest things about Thanksgiving is the wealth of cranberry sauce, preserves, conserve or relish that you're left with. No matter how little you make, just enough to satisfy the traditionalists, it seems to expand and bloom and you've got twice as much at the end of the meal, compared to what you began with.
I love Cranberries. I think they provide a wealth of color, a shot of acid into a meal that is usually as brown and sodden as the leaves outside. And Cranberry Conserve is so simple to make, so simple that I have to talk myself down from doubling the recipe just because. My usual recipe is here, but this year I wanted to branch out a little. Add the gizzards from the turkey. For a brighter, fresher flavor.
Really, all I did was omit the cinnamon, apple and use a little less citrus, a little more sugar. And then a vanilla bean shows up, invites herself inside and plunks down in the hot tub. Hey guys. I don't believe in swimsuits.
If you haven't committed yourself to a specific recipe, give this one a try. The vanilla is beautiful, and the Satsuma rind and juice is sweet and tart and just different enough from regular navel oranges to perfume the sauce in a whole new way.
Cranberry Conserve with Vanilla, Lemon and Satsuma
1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries, washed and picked over
1 cup vanilla sugar
1 Satsuma or small tangerine
1 small lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 large vanilla bean, split
In a medium saucepan, dump the cranberries, sugar and water. Peel a large swath of rind from both the Satsuma and lemon, and add those, with the vanilla bean. Dash in the salt, and then juice both the lemon and Satsuma. Add the juices to the pot, and bring to a ploppy, slow boil over medium-high heat, cooking just until liquid thickens, turns bright red and a few berries begin to split and pop. Remove from heat and pour into your chosen serving dish, then press a piece of plastic wrap on top. Cool to room temp, then chill/store in the fridge until ready to serve, at least four hours.