As I kid, I never understood why cranberry sauce was served with turkey and stuffing. I thought it was more of a dessert than part of a main dish. I come from an ethnic family where Thanksgiving dinner always had an Italian influence. That meant that turkey and cranberry sauce were not the highlight of the meal. We looked forward to the antipasto, tortellini soup, bottomless lasagna and stuffing made with Italian sausage. By the time the turkey was placed on the table, no one was hungry. But the leftover sandwiches were great and there were lots of them.
The cranberry sauce was also an after thought. I don't remember anyone else liking cranberry sauce either except for one of my brothers and sister. So they had a special can bought for them. This was the type of sauce that kept it's canned form even after it was on the plate. I have nothing against people that love canned cranberry sauce and I know there are many out there. Actually my husband is one of them. Sorry hubby, now you must eat the real thing.
Once I tried homemade cranberry sauce, my whole attitude changed. Now I make sure we always have some fresh sauce on the table. I have made it different ways but this orange vanilla recipe is my favorite. I use just a touch of vanilla bean paste but you can substitute some scraped vanilla beans or even vanilla extract.
This recipe is perfect to make a few days in advance and I think it is better after it sits in the refrigerator. I like my cranberry sauce tart so it doesn't contain as much sugar as some other recipes.
I hope everyone has a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving! I will be back by the weekend to show you what I do with my leftovers.
Orange Vanilla Cranberry Sauce
1 - 12 ounce bag cranberries
the juice and zest from one large orange
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
Put all the ingredients in a medium size sauce pan. Over medium heat, bring contents to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce will thicken as it cools.