I’m sure you expected better of me, but here we are three days and counting and I don’t have a menu plan for Thanksgiving. It’s going to be a little bit different around here this year. For one thing, neither daughter will be home. The short academic breaks, long distances, and high cost of travel all conspired against us. Oh, but at least you’ll have your husband, you say? Well, he has business this week that is taking him close to where his dad lives, and so he will spend Thanksgiving with him. His dad is 90, I think it’s a great idea.
Luckily I have friends and family enough to fill the chairs around my dining room table, in fact, I’ve already set the table, complete with wine glasses and place cards, I’m type A that way. But no menu. Nothing yet. I’m also a procrastinator.
It’s not all my fault. My guest list includes some slightly problematic eaters….let’s see, there’s a newly minted (and enthusiastic) vegan, one with a severe nut and fish allergy, one extremely picky eater who I think subsists mainly on cheddar cheese and grapes, and another who has multiple food intolerances ranging from bananas and avocados to shellfish. Ok, that last troublesome guest is me, but you can see my point.
At least I can get started on the cranberry sauce. I know that has to be on the table, and it’ll keep fine in the fridge for a couple of days. This one is going to be fun. What distinguishes it from others I’ve seen is that mine is not shy. Mine has enough rum and enough spice that you can actually taste it. And remember, cranberry sauce is a condiment, we’re not eating huge bowls of it at a time, so it should have a robust flavor. I added a few pinches of spice to echo the spices in the rum, the molasses in the brown sugar adds richness, and the vanilla bean is a really nice grace note on top of it all. Most of the alcohol cooks off in this sauce, but this one is still probably for the adults only.
- 1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1/4 cup spiced rum
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1/2 cup water
- heaping 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of allspice
- pinch of ginger
- pinch of ground cloves
- half a vanilla bean, split
- Put the water, rum and sugar in a saucepan, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then add the cranberries and spices.
- Boil gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Fish out the vanilla bean, then cool completely before refrigerating.