Friday, November 5, 2010

A Vegan Thanksgiving, Part V: Maple Cranberry Sauce

Sorry for the onslaught of Thanksgiving recipes, but it’s officially November, and I figure any home chef worth their salt (no pun intended...oh, who am I kidding) is already planning what to make this year. I had a very busy weekend recipe testing, adjusting, and generally inventing. So many of the foods that I envision on my vegan Thanksgiving table just don’t exist, so I have to get creative. However, this is not one of those recipes. This is a quintessential part of Thanksgiving, that happens to already be vegan: Cranberry Sauce! And this particular one is amazing. Growing up, I never paid much attention to the cranberry sauce. I was never one for sour candies or sweets, so ultra tart cranberry sauce felt more like a punishment than a treat. Then, 10 years ago, my dad changed everything for me. The 2000 Bon Appétit Thanksgiving issue featured a maple cranberry sauce. My dad and I are big fans of maple syrup, so I figured this could only improve on the dish. Little did I know, this was the missing ingredient all along. Just when the cranberry sauce starts to get a little sour for me, the maple syrup mellows everything out, finishing the flavor smoothly. I haven’t eaten another cranberry sauce since. When we started spending Thanksgiving in Minnesota, it was my one culinary contribution to the table.  While I have since been granted greater responsibility in the kitchen, I still have a soft spot for this, my first Thanksgiving dish.

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil and simmer until the cranberries pop, and the sauce starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover tightly. Refrigerate until cooled completely. This is a great dish to make 1 or even 2 days ahead.

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