I adore cranberry sauce. It is so simple to make that I don’t understand why people eat that weird stuff in a can. 1 bag of cranberries, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, boil, and done. You can add spices and fruit to that, substitute juice or wine for the water, and reduce or increase any ingredient to get to the desired consistency. And it’s pretty much fool-proof.
Last year, I made a pomegranate cranberry sauce. This year, I decided to use satsuma mandarins. They really are a perfect citrus for cranberry sauce – very few seeds, and a rind that’s not too thick, but has a lot of flavor. If you can’t find satsumas, look for another tangerine with a medium-thick rind. Something thicker than a clementine, but thinner than a regular orange. I’d err on the side of thick and just add a bit more sugar, rather than use a clementine or something with a papery thin rind. Whatever you use, expect to need more than the standard 1 cup of sugar – the rinds are bitter and you need a little more to cut through that.
Cranberry Sauce with Satsuma Mandarins
1 12 ounce bag of cranberries
2 satsuma mandarins
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Carefully cut up the satsumas. You want some strips of rind with the fruit still attached, but try to remove any big hunks of white membrane. I basically cut it in quarters, then ran my knife down the tip of each quarter to pull off what I could. Then sliced each quater into little 1/4 inch strips. It doesn’t have to be perfect and if you can’t get all the stringy white bits out, don’t worry too much.
Heat a heavy skillet on medium. Add the satsumas and 1/2 cup of sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the satsumas have released their juices and the rinds are soft.
Add the cranberries and the sugar and stir to coat.
Add the water and give it a gentle stir. Simmer for a few minutes, giving it a gentle stir every now and then. You want to stir it gently to keep the cranberries as whole as possible. After about 3 or 4 minutes, taste test a berry. If it’s too bitter, add a bit more sugar, and stir for another minute or so. Otherwise remove from the heat and let it cool.
It should keep in the refrigerator for up to a week if you don’t eat it all before then. To serve, let it come to room temp and enjoy.