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Pepper and Orange Cranberry Sauce

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Cranberry sauce has to be one of my favorite condiments. On Thanksgiving, a holiday full of delicious, but often rich food, the tartness of cranberries does a great job of cutting the heaviness of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes. I’m still a bit obsessed with the lime and ginger cranberry sauce I made last year, but wanted to spice things up a bit this year.

The spiciness and savory aspect jalapeno and pepper bring to this cranberry sauce is most welcome at the dinner table. Extra bite and spice further enhances the cranberries’ ability to lighten up Thanksgiving dinner. Just enough sugar balances out the spice and tartness, but this is still a very bright and fresh tasting condiment. I promise this isn’t excessively spicy, but if you’re worried about too much heat feel free to reduce to just one jalapeno. And if spice really isn’t your thing at all, removing the pepper and jalapeno entirely results in a very pleasant traditional cranberry sauce.

Pepper and Orange Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 16 oz cranberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, let defrost)
  • Pinch of salt

Seed bell pepper and jalapenos; chop the pepper into a small dice and finely mince the jalapenos. Add to a large sauce pan, pour in water and sugar, cook over medium-high heat for approximately 8-10 minutes, until peppers have softened. Meanwhile, zest the orange, then juice the orange. Rinse the cranberries then pick through and discard any all white cranberries or mushy or shriveled cranberries.

Once peppers have softened, add the orange zest, orange juice, ginger, cranberries and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has dissolved and the cranberries have mostly burst, with a few remaining whole. Let cool before serving.

This is a great make ahead recipe. If covered tightly and refrigerated it should stay for a minimum of two weeks.

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Lime, Ginger, and Cranberry Sauce

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When I was younger I used to go on all sorts of trips with my family. My grandmother loved to occasionally treat herself to a few nights at a nice hotel and more often than not she would invite me and other family members. I remember one trip we went to a resort that had been voted very highly on a Condé Nast list of best food in North America. The food definitely didn’t disappoint and each and every meal was delicious! The view was also exceptionally stunning, the service impeccable, and the guest suites luxurious. If there was one thing that seemed a bit off it would have to be the ceiling of the restaurant. It was sort of a tacky looking gold that looked like it had been poorly sponge painted.

Funny enough, while watching TV, an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous came on. It turns out the very same resort we were staying at was being featured and that gold ceiling my family and I all thought looked tacky? Yeah, it turns out it was actual 24k gold. Shows how much I know about the finer things in life.

Besides finding out I had been eating under a gold ceiling, one of the things that stood out the most about that trip was the breakfast I had one day. I had ordered cranberry juice and it was brought out with a lime wedge. I was definitely a youngin’ at that point and I had never heard of lime and cranberry but ever since it has become one of my favorite pairings. I think it’s really common to see the two paired together in drinks and cocktails, but I have to say I don’t see the combination very often in food.

When thinking about Thanksgiving, and the quintessential cranberry sauce, I thought of ways of kicking up the flavor a bit. Cranberry and the commonly used orange is a definite classic, but I thought it was time to switch it up a bit by adding ginger and lime.

Ginger is a perfect fall flavor as it brings a warm heat so I figured it would be a nice addition. To really pack a punch of ginger flavor I added freshly grated ginger and chunks of candied ginger. When it came to the addition of citrus I decided to ditch orange and go with lime since I love lime and cranberry. While this was more tart than a traditional cranberry sauce, I thought it was perfection and I am pleased with myself for coming up with this winning recipe.

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Lime, Ginger, and Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (if using frozen, thoroughly defrost)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of salt
  • The juice and zest of two large limes
  • A few pieces of candied ginger, small to medium chop

Bring cranberries, sugar, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Once mixture has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium, stir in freshly grated ginger, cinnamon, salt, and lime juice/zest. Continue cooking for 10-12 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, remove cinnamon stick, and stir in the chopped candied ginger.

Cranberry sauce is something that can be made well ahead and stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.