There are two types of Thanksgiving eaters: those who rebel if you try to serve anything other than the traditional feast (turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, candied yams, and pumpkin pie, to name a few favorites) and those who are not wedded to the traditional holiday fare. This year I’m being forced to be a third kind of person: the one who wants the traditional Thanksgiving feast but who must bend to my brother’s request for Chinese food. Huh? Seriously? Yes. Our feast will include all the traditional favorites plus this stir fry and pot stickers. Strange? Yes. But if it means family harmony, then that’s what we’ll do.
While I want to have the traditional foods every year, I am not married to them being prepared in the same way. For instance, this year we’ll be brining our turkey like usual but our sweet potatoes will be savory with hints of sage and our stuffing will be cooked in a crockpot instead of stuffed in the turkey. I like to think I’m living on the wild side.
If you also enjoy fresh approaches to your standard Thanksgiving side dishes, then you’ll want to try this cranberry sauce recipe. The ginger adds some zing and the pears add color and texture. If you are a Thanksgiving purist who wants to only be a little adventurous, follow the recipe as written below but omit the ginger and add a sprinkling of cloves. And if you are a purist who has decided to make your own cranberry sauce this year, follow the recipe below omitting the ginger and the pear.
cranberry sauce (with pears and fresh ginger)
3/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp table salt
1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries, picked through
2 medium firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
The easiest way to peel your ginger is with the edge of a spoon. (Thanks, Dave, for this helpful hint!)
The easiest way to grate ginger is with a microplane. If you don’t own one of these, buy one (or two!) today. Really, they may change your culinary life.
Bring water, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Stir in cranberries and pears; return to boil.
Reduce heat to medium; simmer until saucy, slightly thickened, and about two-thirds of the berries have popped open, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl, cool to room temperature, and serve. This cranberry sauce can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.