Cranberry dressing is almost always a staple on the Thanksgiving menu. There’s something about the tartness of cranberries that compliments turkey, or any other meat you might be serving, as well. However, it’s been my life-long experience that cranberry dressings are not all equally created. I’ve had some spectacular dressings, and, well, some not so fabulous versions, like the few times my grandmother served the gelatinous canned cranberry, simply sliced in rings. Need I say more?
A few years ago, my father began to make a version of cranberry dressing, which was delicious. It incorporates orange juice and zest, which is the perfect balance to the tangy cranberries. The original recipe calls for chopped pecans, but I have used other nut varieties, such as hazelnuts and walnuts, with equally great results.
This recipe requires very little effort or time, which is another reason why it makes for a fantastic addition to the Thanksgiving menu. You can make this dressing the day before your event, as it requires at least a two-hour chill. However, if you prefer, you could always warm it slightly before serving. Either warm or chilled, I think you may just adopt this version into your yearly menu. As always, happy eating, and Happy Thanksgiving!
2 oranges, juiced (about 1/2 c.)
zest of 1 orange
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
8 oz. fresh cranberries
1/2 c. raisins, or golden raisins
1/4-1/2 c. chopped pecans (or hazelnuts)
In a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice, zest, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cranberries and raisins. Bring to a low boil. Allow to cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the cranberries begin to pop. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans. Cover and chill for at least two hours.