Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roasted Beet and Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Grocery stores are pushing their turkeys and hams.  Pie filling, stuffing, spices, cranberry sauce, yams, and other assorted staples burst off of the end caps.  All around the country households are planning their traditional family dinner.  I suspect most read something like this:

Roast turkey
pan gravy
sage and onion stuffing
mashed potatoes
sweet potato casserole
green bean casserole
dinner rolls
pumpkin pie

and of course, cranberry sauce

There must always be cranberry sauce.  

Ross and I have had a tift or two over the proper sauce to serve at Thanksgiving.  I like mine from scratch.  Chunky and spiked with citrus and cinnamon.  And Ross...his prefers from a can.  Homogenous.  Jellied.  And preferably in the ringed log that slides out of the can with a satisfying plop.  We usually compromise.  I make the sauce.  He gets a can of jellied goo to himself.

So knowing a can of cranberry sauce may be close I had, I don't feel so bad for serving this version up.  He'd turn his nose up at the beets anyway.

This cranberry sauce has a very subtle sweetness.  It is far more tart than many other sauces, but feel free to up the honey if you prefer yours a little sweeter.  The beets add an earthy sweetness to balance the tart berries.  The citrus cuts through a bit.  Pecans lend a wonderful toasted crunch to the texture and a dollop of creme fraiche or a sprinkling of soft goat cheese offers a wonderful smoothness that mellows and blends the other flavors.

adapted from a recipe courtesy of Driftless Organics

serves 4-5

The Ingredients:
5-7 small beets
1 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, juice and zest
3 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1 oz soft goat cheese or creme fraiche

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 400.  Scrub the beets thoroughly.  Trim the tops and root tips away, do not peel.   Cut the beets into wedges.  Toss with oil, salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast 30-40 minutes until the beets are tender and the outsides are beginning to caramelize.  Set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange juice, zest, honey and cinnamon.  Stir and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries begin to burst, 1about 10-15 minutes.  For a less chunky sauce, allow to cook about 5 minutes longer and gently mash the berries with the back of a spoon.  Add the roasted beets and stir to combine.  Transfer to a serving bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Sprinkle with pecans and cheese just prior to serving.

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