A Sauce is Not Necessarily a Sauce

The American holiday favorite cranberry sauce isn´t really a sauce. Brown gravy is a sauce; the same with hollandaise or A1 steak sauce. Cranberry sauce is more a relish than a sauce, and it is normally served as a side dish instead of being poured over a piece of meat.

Here in Scandinavia lingonberries and to a lesser degree red currants are more common, though cranberries do grow in the wild. Red currants and lingonberries are sometimes prepared as a relish, other times more jelly-like. Lingonberry relish can be served with wild game, pancakes, meatballs og black pudding, and it´s killer on oatmeal. The same can easily apply to cranberries.

In America we traditionally serve cranberry “sauce” with Thanksgiving and/or Christmas turkey, but this side dish can work with any number of dishes. Meat: pretty much anything from chicken to game. Seafood: you bet!

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Here´s a bit of advice: Make a point to serve cranberry something-or-another at least once a month. The berries make for some healthy, tasty food. If you are into canning you can eat cranberry jelly for breakfast any time of the year. The cranberry relish in the recipe under is great served with potatoes (yes, it is) as well as grilled chicken pieces. This relish will keep for at least 3-4 weeks in the fridge.

Dried cranberries are great served with salted nuts and cranberry juice makes one hell of a great mixer for cocktails, smoothies and bright red umbrella-drinks using sparkling wine, vodka or rum.

Cranberry sauce, yeah right.

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Cranberry relish
4 dl sukker
2 dl rødvin
3 ss presset appelsinjuice
1 pose (350 g) ferske tranebær
2 ts finhakket appelsinskall

1. Kok opp sukker, vin og appelsinjuice i en gryte.
2. Tilsett tranebær og appelsinskall når sukkeret er oppløst og kok opp igjen.
4. Kok uten lokk i ca. 5 minutter til du hører at skallene på bærene sprekker.
5. Ta gryten vekk fra kokeplaten og la blandingen kjøle ned.

Server tranebærsaus varm, på romtemperatur eller kald.

Tips
Du kan godt erstatte vin med vann, og noen av julekrydderene (kanel, ingefær, nellik) fungerer også bra (i små mengder) med tranebær.

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Cranberry relish
1 3/4 c sugar
3/4 c red wine
3 Tbss freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 bag (350 grams) fresh cranberries
2 ts minced orange peel

1. Put the sugar, wine and orange juice in a small pan. Bring to a boil.
2. Add the cranberries and the orange peel as soon as the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil again.
4. Cook for about 5 minutes until you hear the cranberry skins popping.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool down.

Serve cranberry sauce warm, at room temperature or cold, depending on your mood.

Tips
You can replace the water with wine (now that´s a handy trick). You might want to add a small amount of your favorite Christmas spice(s): cinnamon, ginger, cloves.

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