Thanksgiving Dinner must-haves for me include the usual suspects…turkey, potatoes, stuffing, Apple Wheat Berry Salad, Green Bean Casserole CEBH Style, some kind of bread, a delicious dessert like the one coming up in my next post, and cranberry sauce. Unfortunately, in my immediate family I’m the only cranberry sauce aficionado…but that has never stopped me from making it just for myself! So today I’m sharing my recipe for a simple Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce that you can make days ahead and check at least one item off your to-do meal preparation list!
When I was growing up my mom made what she called cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. In reality what she made was actually a cranberry relish since it wasn’t cooked. I remember her clamping the old fashioned grinder onto the end of the counter, then cranking the handle like crazy to grind a bag of frozen cranberries and a couple oranges into the bowl which I was tasked with holding. It was a big responsibility for me to make sure I held that bowl still and didn’t let any of the juices dribble onto the floor! Then she added sugar – what seemed like mounds of sugar – to sweeten that tart relish. After that, she’d pop it into the fridge to chill and macerate for a day or two before our Thanksgiving feast.
This recipe borrows the basics ~ cranberries and oranges ~ from mom’s cranberry relish, but omits the sugar, and instead, sweetens the sauce with maple syrup and honey. Then I spiced things up just a little bit with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. And finally to add a little depth of flavor I splash in some vanilla. The ingredients simmer in a crockpot over low heat for just a couple hours, until the berries are softened. About 90 minutes into the cooking process I mash the berries with the back of a spoon until they’re somewhat crushed, but still have plenty of texture. I let it continue to cook about 30 minutes more, transfer the sauce to a storage container, and pop it in the fridge until ready to serve. The sauce will thicken as it cools and be the perfect texture to accompany your expertly roasted turkey, to top a luscious dessert (subscribe so you don’t miss the next post for just such a dessert), or as a condiment on your leftover turkey sandwiches!
Whats your favorite food related Thanksgiving memory? Tell me about it in the comments…I really do love to read them all!!!
- 8 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
- 2-3 oranges, zested and juiced for about 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Scant 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Scant 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup honey
- Place all ingredients in crockpot, stir to combine and replace lid.
- Set heat to low and simmer for a total of about 2 hours.
- After 90 minutes cooking time has elapsed, stir sauce.
- Using the back of large stirring spoon, mash the berries until there's a good mixture of textures - including a few whole berries as well.
- Replace lid and cook another 30 minutes, then stir again.
- Mash the berries more if desired.
- Transfer to a covered dish and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- The sauce thickens and the flavors meld as it chills in the fridge. This is one more reason to make it a couple days in advance.
- Use as an accompaniment to turkey, as a sandwich condiment, or in desserts as desired