Building dinner

The thing about Thanksgiving is it takes lots of helping hands to make it possible! Sometimes the biggest challenge is taking on numerous new recipes during an already busy day.

Instead, let’s spend this week building the pieces to a delicious meal so everything is perfect on Turkey Day.

Cranberries are the main ingredient for a Thanksgiving staple. Legend has it that the Pilgrims served cranberries at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 in Plymouth, Mass. We’re going to make it into a yummy sauce following a recipe your kids can help with.

The cranberry is unique as it’s one of only a handful of major fruits native to North America. Named from the Dutch and German settlers who called it “crane berry,” cranberries offer a lot of vitamin C. In fact, American sailors would take the small reddish fruit on long voyages to prevent disease.

Today we’re simply going to make homemade cranberry and winter pear compote! Sweet, yet seductively tart, cranberry sauce remains the perfect accompaniment for a holiday table and throughout the year!

In a saucepan, combine 1-11/2 cup water or crisp white wine (Sauvignon blanc), 1 tsp grated lemon peel, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken which should take about 5 minutes.

You’ll want to peel, core and quarter four fresh pairs. Stir in the pears and 2 cups of fresh cranberries and a ½ cup of reconstituted currants or raisins and bring to a boil again.

The currants or raises are optional. If you add them, soak in wine or water prior to use to plump back up. Also add 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground cloves, 1 tsp. ground black pepper and a ¼ tsp. salt. Make sure cranberries are covered in liquid. If needed, add a bit more liquid, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes until you hear the cranberries pop and begin to thicken the sauce with their natural pectin. Stir.

Stir. Compote will also thicken as cooled. Serve hot or chilled. If gift giving, cool slightly before placing in decorative glassware and cool before sealing. This recipe makes 4 one-cup servings.

Remember, cranberries are tasty! This sauce will be a tasty addition to whatever you – or your  little one—decides to eat on Thanksgiving.


Published by Chef Gigi Gaggero, Host of Silicon Valley's LIVE Food Talk Radio on KSCU 103.3 FM

Professional Chef, Two Time Award-Winning Book Author, Former Academic Director from Le Cordon Bleu, and Host of Silicon Valley's LIVE Food Talk Radio on KSCU 103.3 FM

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