Our sweet friends Travis and Erin host a wonderful tradition that started when they were in college, Friend Thanksgiving. We didn't know them then (in fact, neither B nor I even lived in South Carolina when they began the tradition), but they are incredibly loving and welcoming people. As some of their friends moved away, and as they made new friends (ie, us), Friend Thanksgiving has expanded and coalesced and now encompasses a myriad of wonderful young adults in the greater Upstate area (plus Travis and Erin's two ridiculously adorable little boys).
Last year, we were in Philadelphia visiting B's family during Friend Thanksgiving, so when I got a text from Erin asking if we could attend this year, our answer was a resounding "Yes!" Further, I knew immediately what I wanted to bring: my piece de resistance, the thing I love making most for Thanksgiving. THE orange bourbon cranberry sauce.
I love cranberry sauce. I think it's because I prefer vinegar-y, marinated, tart things, (as opposed to ANYthing mayonnaise-based), and this sort of falls into that category. After all the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and macaroni and cheese, you kind of need something NOT creamy and bland and fattening. This cranberry sauce delivers.
It's ridiculously easy, but it's homemade, so it easily blows the socks off of the canned stuff. Cranberry. Orange. BOURBON. Come on. What's not to love?
What you do is, you take a bag of cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, the zest of the orange, and 1/4 cup bourbon (I usually add an extra splash for fun), and you put it in a pot on medium heat. You wait until it starts simmering, then let simmer for 20-25 minutes until the cranberries have all popped and it looks more like sauce and less like an Old Fashioned cocktail (trust me when I tell you it smells like an Old Fashioned, too).
Stir frequently while it's simmering. When it's about halfway through, it is beautiful and pink and frothy and delicious looking, but it eventually settles into an actual cranberry sauce-type thing.
In short, it's delicious and you should make it for your Friendsgiving or Thanksgivukkah or whatever holiday you celebrate in November. Short of bringing actual booze (or homemade desserts), this is the best thing you can bring to a Thanksgiving meal.
The original recipe came from Real Simple, but I changed a few things around to make it my own. You can see their recipe here, or mine below. Happy Friendsgiving, sweet readers!
Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
1 bag whole fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
zest from the orange
Dump everything into large saucepan.
Let simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
Become the hit of your Thanksgiving meal.