Yes, folks, it is that time of the year again, when traditionalists face off against the avant-garde. Nowhere is this more apparent than around the Thanksgiving table. On one side we have the hardliners who haven't deviated from their annual menu since Great-aunt Minnie served the first green bean casserole. On the other side sit the trailblazers, the provocateurs who dare to offer a yam gratin in lieu of sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows and pumpkin soufflé rather than pie.
But perhaps nowhere is the divide more apparent than on the subject of cranberry sauce: jellied or chunky, sweet or spicy, canned or homemade.
Bowing my head, not in shame but to hide my grin, I admit to being a non-traditionalist. This year I'll be serving a roast capon with a shiitake mushroom and Armagnac sauce. My stuffing will be a savory spinach and artichoke bread pudding and nary a green bean will be seen. Instead my family will be eating an herbed zucchini gratin. Dessert? A pear tart with homemade cinnamon ice cream.
Will there be cranberry sauce? No, there will not. I will however, be making cranberry ketchup for those sandwiches we'll be eating on Friday. I don't remember where I found this recipe, but it is a wonderful switch from regular ketchup. It's also the perfect hostess gift if someone else is doing the cooking this year.
1 12-ounce bag whole cranberries, picked over (3 1/3 cups)
2 large onions, finely chopped (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine 2/3 cup water with the cranberries, onions, vinegar, garlic, allspice and salt. Bring to a simmer over moderately low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and pulpy, about 20 minutes. Stir in the sugar, return to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes longer. Let cook for 30 minutes.
2 Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree, then strain into a glass measure. Pour the ketchup into glass bottles or jars and refrigerate. The ketchup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 months
Yields 1 1/2 pints.