So, Thanksgiving is a big deal for my family. Specifically, for my mother’s side of the family: the Cashmores. We see each other on Christmas, but Thanksgiving is the holiday when everyone sleeps over and we stay together for two whole days. Our traditions are half normal; they involve standing around in the kitchen all day eating chips and dip, drinking a lot of wine, throwing rolls instead of passing them (which generally leads to a roll-throwing competition—who can toss them where the host won’t be able to find them when cleaning up), sitting on the kitchen floor after dinner, etc. Growing up we always had turkey and stuffing (duh), my Grandma’s Jello mold, a cucumber salad with sour cream, and sparkling cider for the kids. More recently my mom has been trying some new recipes. Once she made a corn soufflé that was so good we now have to have it every year. Last year she made a melted cheese appetizer thing that smelled worse than anything edible, and tasted better than anything anywhere. Actually, that may have been for Christmas. Either way.
This year my sister was with her in-laws, which was ultra lame, and everybody ended up leaving Thanksgiving night and Friday morning, which was also lame. Thanksgiving itself, however, was not lame. We had thirteen adults, five kids, five dogs, and a lot of pie. We totally forgot to even serve the Jello thing my mom had made ahead of time and had no salad because we just didn’t feel like making it once the time came. Thanksgiving is funny like that. We drink mimosas when we start cooking in the morning and it generally goes downhill from there.
I did, however, get to make a great bourbon pecan pie recipe my mom found (not too sweet), my stand-by roasted sweet potatoes (which were a big hit), and my new favorite thing in the world: Bourbon Cranberry Sauce. I made it for the thankSOCRGiving dinner my Catechism reading group had a few weeks ago, and I now I can’t stop. I won’t stop. The thing about cranberry sauce is that it’s pretty close to universal. It’s good on breads, meats, cheeses, fruits, sweets. It’s good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The only thing that’s missing is alcohol. Oh wait. I just put some bourbon in it. Bam! Cranberry sauce has it ALL.
We were never much of a cranberry sauce family, growing up. Usually we put a can of the gluey stuff on the table out of some sense of obligation, but left it in can-shape to show what we really thought of it. The past few years we’ve been getting more into it. My dad likes the kind with orange rind. I like any kind made with whole cranberries and less sugar than the package says. I’d like to experiment with some savory versions (black pepper, maybe sage?), but for now I will give you the bourbon flair recipe.
Here is my suggestion: make double and glory in the universal leftovers. Put it on toast. Put it in your oatmeal (so good!). Put some on brie and crackers. Or goat cheese and crackers. Or some sharp cheddar and crackers. Or just some crackers. Do that chutney thing and dump in on a block of cream cheese. Use it as a spread in a turkey sandwich. Make marinated pork tenderloin and top it with the cranberry sauce. I haven’t tested this, but I’m guessing it would also be amazing on a slice of dark chocolate cake. OMG, I want that. (So much that I just typed OMG…gross.) Anyway, I hope you get the idea. Really do put it in your oatmeal. That was a party.
Oh right, the recipe.
Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
- 3 cups of whole cranberries
- 1 C water
- 1/2-3/4 C sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 2 shots of bourbon
Boil the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start bursting. Add the bourbon and simmer until the sauce is thick. I think you’re supposed to let it cool down and even refrigerate it, but I like it warm or cool.
I don’ t think it tastes too boozy; it just has a little more depth than regular cranberry sauce. It’s a little more troubled; it’s got regrets it wants to forget. Like that untouched Jello mold in the over-crowded fridge.