Cranberry Sauce

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This is my favorite week of the year. It's a short week because of Thanksgiving (and in college I'd leave for home on Tuesday to beat the traffic, truncating it even further) and the dishes I prepare are Thanksgiving-only exclusives that I eat only once yearly.

For sheer deliciousness-to-effort ratio, homemade cranberry sauce can't be beat. This is a side dish that I used to buy pre-made from a can, but one year I decided to cook an all-from-scratch Thanksgiving, so I had to give up my Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. Ocean Spray is dead to me now, and I've never looked back.

Though I can enjoy the challenge of a multi-step, multi-container, specialized-tool recipe, when it comes to the Thanksgiving feast with its panoply of dishes, I favor simple and suitable to make ahead. This recipe is the Platonic ideal of simple and suitable to make ahead.

You can use fresh or frozen cranberries, and days in advance of Turkey Day (I'm making mine today). Enjoy!

Cranberry Sauce
12 oz whole cranberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, thaw and drain)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium pot on the stovetop, mixing to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Heat on medium until it boils, for one minute. The cranberries will be bursting and possibly spilling over the sides of the pot.
  3. Transfer to a heat-proof container and allow to cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate until ready for serving.

The sauce will thicken while cooling. Depending on your preference, may be served cold or brought up to room temperature.

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