News & Politics

Beyond Ocean Spray: Three Chefs Reinvent Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

Tired of the canned stuff? We asked three chefs how they'd reinvent the Turkey Day garnish.

This article is from 2006's Thanksgiving Dining Guide. To see 2007's guide, click here.

Kumquat Gewurztraminer Gelee

By Jamie Stachowski, Restaurant Kolumbia

In a saucepan, cover 1 quart of kumquats with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 2 minutes, then drain. Repeat process twice (it reduces bitterness) until kumquats are very soft (some may split). Slice, remove seeds, julienne, and set aside.

In a bowl, mix 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin with ½ cup Gewurztraminer wine. Set aside.

Set a pot over medium heat and mix 1 cup sugar with 1 cup honey . When sugar dissolves, turn heat to low and add 1 small knob peeled ginger, 1 star anise clove, and zest of 1 lemon. Simmer for a few minutes until aromatic. Stir in 2 more cups of wine, then add kumquats and simmer on low until flesh is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Take ½ cup of syrup and whisk into gelatin/wine mixture, then stir gelatin mixture back into pot of kumquats and syrup. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 minced maraschino cherries, and a pinch of salt . Stir to evenly distribute kumquats and whole spices, and cool until solidified.

Cranberry, Orange, and Champagne Compote

By Tracy O’Grady, Willow

Set sauce pan over medium-high heat and saute 1 pound fresh cranberries with 1 tablespoon butter, ¼ cup sugar , and 1 teaspoon salt , until berries begin to soften—about 5 minutes. Add juice of 2 oranges and ½ cup Champagne and bring to boil. Cook until nearly all liquid is evaporated. Add 1 tablespoon butter and zest of two oranges. Once butter is incorporated, remove mixture from pan and chill for at least 4 hours.

Cranberry-Ginger Chutney

By Patrick O’Connell, Inn at Little Washington

In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine 1 cup fresh cranberries , 1 peeled and finely chopped small onion, 2 peeled and chopped pears , 2 minced jalepeno peppers (seeds removed), ½ cup cranberry juice, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, juice of ½ lemon, ¾ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons grated ginger, and salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes or until berries are tender. Let cool before serving.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.