Recipe for jellied cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries and softly gelled with the natural pectin in apples. A perfect recipe substitute for cylinders of canned cranberry sauce all jiggly-wobbly with high-fructose corn syrup. Quick and easy and nothing – nothing – like canned cranberry sauce. No gelatin so naturally vegan.
The sad news that the pages of Gourmet shall go blank this month hit hard, like the loss of a family elder who seemed ready to live forever.
Looking back, it was Gourmet’s 1986 or 1987 Thanksgiving issue that first revealed to me the concept of simple food cooked well, and in season, that expresses the food sensibility I call my own today. Who needs a can of mushroom soup when it’s so easy to slice mushrooms for Homemade Mushroom Soup? Who wants a fridgeful of salad dressing when it’s so fast to mix a quick vinaigrette right in the salad bowl?
Twelve boxes (one for each month) of back issues are testament to a long affair with food magazines, Gourmet and its surviving sibling, Bon Appetit, but also Food & Wine, Fine Cooking and my current favorite for authentic traditional food, Saveur.
My one quibble with food magazines? The food looks so beautiful, all styled and perfect. For a home cook focused on getting slow people and a hot dinner to the table at the same time, attempts to replicate magazine perfection present one lesson after another in
Take what I call Fresh Jellied Cranberry Sauce from Food & Wine, which seized my attention with beautiful presentation. (Take a minute to look, but then come back, don't worry, I'll wait.) Looks simple enough, yes? Well, take my word for it: the surface doesn’t gel that smooth, the loaf doesn’t slice and the edges get all melty.
Besides, isn’t the jellied cranberry beautiful as is, just in a bowl, garnished with cranberries and rosemary? Simple food, prepared well – plated simply – that’s my idea of ‘gourmet’.
FRESH JELLIED CRANBERRY SAUCE
Time to table: 4 hours
Makes 1-1/2 cups
- 3/4 cup water
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, washed and picked over to remove any imperfect berries
- 1 large tart apple (Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji or Braeburn, say), peeled, cored and chopped small
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup sugar (see TIPS)
- Additional fresh cranberries
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook, stirring often to avoid burning, until the cranberries are completely broken down, about 15 minutes. Let cool and turn into a serving dish, then cover and refrigerate. To serve, create surface texture with the tines of a fork, then top with fresh cranberries and rosemary.
VARIATIONS Stir in a little vanilla or grated orange zest after cooking – or wait, how about a splash of brandy? I told you this was nothing like canned cranberry sauce!
ALANNA’s TIPS The inspiring recipe called for a cup of sugar. My taste buds err away from sugar so I used just a half cup and found the jellied cranberry sauce plenty sweet.
Gourmet, Days Gone By
Just call me Mz Organizer: 3x5 index cards like this were my 'food magazine management' system for some years. First up, a short list of attention-getting recipes when an issue first came out, then notes when/if I actually made them. Gourmet won on all counts! I just looked up the recipes Gourmet's September 1992 issue on Epicurious, they 'still' appeal, even some 17 years later. I shall miss Gourmet, I shall.
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