Let me start by saying that sometimes it’s the sides from the holiday table that we remember the most. Yes, the turkey is supposed to be the main attraction, but it’s the sides–the supporting cast, that really make the meal. That’s what I think anyway.
I received a review copy of Rick Rodgers The Big Book of Sides, and a bottle of Four Roses Bourbon to recreate one of the bourbon recipes from the book. The book has over 450 recipes for side dishes, pickles, relishes, and sauces that are great for everyday meals, special occasions, and the holidays. Since cranberry sauce is a staple at my Thanksgiving table, that’s what I chose to make. I always try to make a good cranberry sauce and especially appreciate having it for the mandatory day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches.
Southern Cranberry Sauce
Makes about 3 cups
One 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup packed light brown sugar
finely grated zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons bourbon
1. Combine the cranberries, brown sugar, orange zest and juice, ginger, and 1 cup water in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring them to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to help dissolve the brown sugar.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until all the cranberries have burst and the juices have thickened to a light syrup, 7-10 minutes. Let the sauce cool until tepid. Stir in the bourbon. Transfer the sauce to a covered container and refrigerate it until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 weeks. Serve the sauce chilled or at room temperature.
Bonus idea, use this cranberry sauce as an appetizer. Serve on a cheese plate next to an aged white sharp cheddar or creamy brie, with some toasted nuts and crackers.
Thankfully, there is still plenty of bourbon left after making the recipe to drink straight up. I’ve recently been learning a bit about bourbon, and I’ve been trying different ones. Four Roses Small Batch is mellow, and smooth, and sweet. If you are like me, and you are learning about bourbon, you might appreciate the tasting notes:
Four Roses Small Batch Tasting Notes
- Nose: spicy, rich, mellow, fruity, hints of sweet oak & caramel.
- Palate: creamy, mellow, ripened red berries, rich, spicy, well-balanced, moderately sweet.
- Finish: soft, smooth & pleasantly long.
To enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment below stating what is your favorite holiday side dish. I will choose one comment at random. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 1st on this post and via Twitter. The winner will have to provide a US shipping address.
Hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.
**Updated 12/3/14: The winner is PrettyPolyMath**
Disclosure: I received a sample of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, a review copy of The Big Book of Sides, and a gift card. I choose to collaborate with brands that I would normally consume. All opinions are my own.