Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unprocessed: Baked Cranberries

For Thanksgiving I was presented with the challenge of making the entire meal unprocessed to fit with my Unprocessed October Challenge.  The boy is not a big fan of cranberries but loved the Baked Cranberries I made last year.  So I set about trying to recreate them in some way without using white sugar.  What resulted was more sauce-like and quite a bit more tart that the former version, but I couldn't stop eating it.  My perfect Thanksgiving plate is a few slices of turkey topped with some cranberries and drizzled with gravy.  While a sweet cranberry works well, the bright, tart flavor of this sauce with just a hint of sweetness actually made this combination ideal.

Baked Cranberry Sauce

3 cups of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsps maple syrup
zest of 1 orange

1.  Preheat oven to 275F.  Toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  Spread in an even layer in a large glass baking dish.
2.  Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes, though they are best when served at room temperature.

These cranberries retain their shape after cooked, which makes for a huge, tart burst when they pop in your mouth, the tartness is balanced by the sweetness of the honey and maple.  The flavor showcases everything that's great about the fall for me. 

What's perfect about this dish is that it can be made a day or two in advance if you are putting together a big meal and it's also easy enough for anytime and go well with chicken or even duck.  I love cranberries with roast chicken almost more than with turkey.

Doing our entire Thanksgiving as unprocessed really felt in the true spirit of Thanksgiving.  I did cook all day for the meal, and there wasn't any green bean casserole (as it's drench in French's Fried Onions and Cream of Mushroom soup), but I plan to figure out an unprocessed version in time for American Thanksgiving. 


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