~ An all-time, family-favorite cranberry sauce recipe – perfect for Thanksgiving and the holidays! It’s so quick and easy, and bursting with wonderful sweet-tart flavors and great texture! Plus, it takes just a few moments in your food processor and can even be made in advance! ~
Do you remember last week, when I revealed that I’m in love with two different salads? (Oh, my cheating heart!)
Well, I’ve actually fallen head-over-heels for two different cranberry sauce recipes, too.
But, honestly, one of them has officially edged out the other one, to win the key to my cranberry heart.
I didn’t think it could happen. When I first made the Cranberry and Dried-Cherry Relish recipe that ran in “Bon Appétit” back in 2001, I thought it was a love that’d last forever. So simple, and that cranberry recipe was filled with such cardamom-my goodness. Mmmmmmm …
I looked forward to Thanksgiving every year … my excuse for a little rendezvous with my cranberry sauce sweetheart. People requested that I make it for holiday meals, and then they requested a copy of the recipe. I never thought I’d find a truer love (at least as far as cranberry love goes).
But then … I did.
Last Thanksgiving, as we watched the Macy’s Parade and happily looked forward to our raucous day of extended-family shenanigans (as loyal THK readers know, my family doesn’t do un-fun holidays), I decided to throw caution to the wind and try a whole new twist on cranberry sauce … so I opened a little cranberry-sauce-recipe laboratory.
Oh fine. My “lab” pretty much only involved a knife and a food processor – simple but effective!
Now, we can discuss all day whether a true cranberry sauce has to be cooked, and whether a cranberry relish has to be un-cooked. After a bit of research, I can tell you there are recipes on all sides of this debate. Call it what you will … I was going for an easy, no-cook recipe with fabulous flavors and texture … so that’s what I made!
As my cranberry experiments began, I had visions of
sugarplums pineapple dancing in my head. It seemed like the perfect sweet counterpoint to juicy, tart cranberries. Huh … why not?
I tinkered and adjusted, tasted and tinkered some more.
And ya know what? It was AWESOME!
How awesome, you ask?
So wonderfully, deliciously awesome that in a head-to-head showdown (as in: I took BOTH my new recipe and the old-fave “Bon Appétit” recipe to the Thanksgiving feast that day), this new cranberry sauce hands-down beat the tiny cranberry pants off my old true love. Kids … adults … all around the table, the votes poured in …
And this (super easy!) cranberry sauce was the clear winner!
The sweet, dried pineapple is a unique twist on traditional cranberry sauce, and it really does perfectly counter-balance the deliciously tart cranberries. The apples and pecans add a fantastic, crunchy texture, and the vanilla and cinnamon create a subtle, rich background.
Oh – and all you have to do is toss all the ingredients in the food processor! You’re done in just moments!
Seriously – what’s not to love!?!?
It stole my heart … and it’ll steal yours, too! (You’ve been warned!)
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- 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1 Ambrosia or Honeycrisp apple (or other firm, sweet-tart variety), peeled and coarsely chopped (to equal about 1¾ cups)
- 1½ cups (about 8 ounces) dried chopped pineapple
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until desired consistency, scraping the sides once or twice if needed (see notes).
- Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until serving.
Consistency: The exact consistency of this recipe is entirely up to you. We think it's gorgeous and has great texture when left a bit chunkier, more like a traditional cranberry "relish." If you prefer, however, you can make it smoother, so it's closer to a typical cranberry "sauce." The exact consistency you choose will affect the final yield – when coarsely processed, this recipe will yield about 4¼ cups, but if you process it until rather smooth, it will yield about 3½ cups.
Make-ahead tips: This cranberry sauce can be made a day or two in advance. Keep refrigerated until serving.