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How To Make Cranberry Sauce

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Ditch that can -- making a homemade cranberry sauce recipe couldn't be easier, says chef Bruce Mattel of The Culinary Institute of America.

Making Cranberry Sauce

He begins by adding the juice of one orange to a pan with 3/4 cup of sugar, then stirring them together and bringing the mixture to a boil. When the sugar is dissolved and the juice is bubbling, he adds about 2 pounds of cranberries, a cinnamon stick, and the zest of one orange and lowers the heat slightly. When the cranberries have burst open, the sauce is ready. Ideally, you want to make this a few days in advance, then allow it to cool and put it in the refrigerator, covered. The orange and cinnamon flavors will perfume the sauce, improving its flavor.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Bruce Mattel, from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make cranberry sauce.

We take the juice of one orange, and we add it to a nonreactive saucepot; this one happens to be stainless steel. We turn on the heat - we're using medium to high heat to start - and we're going to add three quarters of a cup (or so) of sugar to the orange juice. We give the sugar and the orange juice a little bit of a stir to dissolve the sugar, and this will help our cranberries to cook also. Once the mixture comes to a boil and starts to simmer, the sugar is more or less dissolved and we can add our cranberries.

I'm going to reduce the heat just a bit and add my cranberries, then I'm also going to add the zest of one orange, grated zest. I'll add that right in. Now that we have our cranberries and orange together, I'll just cook that a little bit. I started off with about a pound of cranberries, and that's going to yield us about two cups or so of cranberry sauce when we're finished.

The last thing I"m going to add is one cinnamon stick. I'm going to leave the cinnamon stick in the cranberry sauce overnight, perhaps even for two or three days. The orange flavor and the cinnamon is all going to marry with the cranberries, and it's going to taste even better a few days after you make it.

Now that our cranberries have come to a simmer, we're waiting to see them pop open. We need them to pop open because as they sit, even for a couple of days, they're going to keep releasing their juice and flavor. You don't want to boil this too rapidly because you want to preserve some of the liquid; the faster you boil it, the more liquid you're going to cook out of it.

Now as you can see, some of the cranberries have gotten soft and broken down, and other ones have popped. Here you see a split in the cranberry skin, and that's what you're looking for. Now I'm going to turn this off and transfer this sauce over to a bowl, leaving the cinnamon stick right in it; allow it to cool and then put it right in the refrigerator where I can enjoy it a couple of days later. So here you have it: simple cranberry sauce.