Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cranberry Sauce

Growing up I always went to my Grandma Iva's house the night before Thanksgiving to "help her out". Grandma taught me over the years to cook many of her favorite recipes that were traditional as much as just plain delicious. One of my favorite smells from childhood is still cranberries simmering on the stove. That meant the holiday season had begun. I bought a 3lb. bag of cranberries the other day, I figured I'd get ahead of my holiday cooking as well as I needed extra to make a new recipe to take with me to a work Christmas party. I'll post my traditional recipe for cranberry sauce(which I also LOVE to play with and change up) and the Chipotle Cranberry Chutney I plan to put on top of a loaf of Brie in Puff Pastry crust for the party. My house smells amazing after making both of them.

Cranberry Sauce
2 12oz. bags fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice from 2 oranges, plus enough water to equal 2 cups

In a large saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and water to a boil. Add cranberries and zest and stir. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, until liquid is reduced and cranberries have all burst. The sound of simmering cranberries is so much fun, it's like bubble wrap in a pot. I've added things like rum flavoring, almond flavoring, vanilla, black pepper, ginger, etc... but my favorite add-in is the orange zest and juice.

Chipotle Cranberry Chutney
1 large purple onion diced
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 Tbl. Gourmet Garden Ginger(in tube), or fresh grated
1 12oz. bag fresh cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
zest of one orange
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. smokey chipotle chili powder
Rinse cranberries well. Saute purple onion in olive oil in saucepan on low heat until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and saute 1 more minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to simmer and stir often to prevent burning. Simmer until all cranberries have burst and desired consistency. Should be slightly thick. Serve over meats, cream cheese with crackers, in Brie wheel, etc.... This is what turns a perfect turkey/swiss/avocado sandwich into a heavenly masterpiece.

The Cranberry Chipotle Sauce will go from bright red to a deep burgundy color.

Simmer uncovered until desired consistency, the balsamic reduces nicely.

Check out recipes and ideas at puffpastry.com.

Brie en Croute
There's a great video on puffpastry.com, explaining how to wrap a Brie en Croute and even how to make a fancy bow out of dough for on top. Because this Brie wheel was 1 lb., and their recipe calls for an 8 oz. size, I had to adjust the directions.

Lightly flour a clean surface. Lay out 1 sheet of puff dough. Divide the other sheet of puff dough into 4 equal lengths and pinch each side of the square piece with the lengths to seal. Put a dollop of about a 2/3 cup chutney, jam, or nuts and wrap(follow directions as in the video on wrapping). Seal all edges with egg wash. Cut shapes with leftover dough pieces and attach with egg wash and seal the tops. Bake on a cookie sheet with an edge(in case the cheese oozes out) on parchment paper at 350' for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and puffed up. Rest at least 20 minutes before moving it or cutting into it or the cheese will all ooze out. It's great simply by itself, on top of sliced baguettes or crackers. Also elegant served with grapes and nuts.

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