Saturday, November 22, 2014

Brown sugar cranberry sauce with bourbon (if you dare)

By Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane Maffini

We're all having a great time here in Mystery Lovers Kitchen in the run up to Thanksgiving, even us Canadians!  We are loving the recipes and the good mood.  And because we’ll be feeling thankful all week, we are happy to offer a giveaway – you’ll find the details at the end of our post and we'll announce the winner on Thanksgiving day!  Do come by. 

Our readers have been posting about what they can’t live without on ‘turkey’ days. It’s hard for us to choose because although we love stuffing, cranberry sauce is the one thing we can’t live without when there’s a turkey in the picture. 

We love the punchy flavor and the bright color. We like to make it at home, because it’s just so easy. In a pinch it’s just cranberries, water and sugar, but we prefer to dress that up a bit. And as we are trying to lighten our recipes without diminishing the taste, we have a few tricks up our sleeves. This is a great little recipe and you can add your own favorite flavors. 

Some of you may remember that MJ still has that bottle of bourbon from the Plumcot cake recipe this fall.  We did a test with half our cranberry sauce and a dollop of the bourbon.  We think it tastes great and is probably full of extra vitamins. What? Oh.

We think either version would be great to bring along if you are a guest for Thanksgiving. It’s not hard to make and you can whip it up a week or so ahead.  Put it in a pretty jar or in a little vintage dish that can be a hostess gift –  as this one was for us.  

We'll set our table simply now: something like this from the Chicken with Apples post.
We like the warm fall colors and the glow of candles. 

We often serve cranberry sauce in the glass turkey that was part of every Thanksgiving and Christmas table when MJ was growing up.  We won’t be giving that away! 

Take it away, cranberries …

Brown-Sugar Cranberry Sauce

1 cup water
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar, firmly packed (or 1/3 cup regular brown sugar,.  we find the Splenda brown sugar bit sweeter)
1 12-oz. bag of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 tsp. freshly black pepper
pinch of kosher salt
1- 2  Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves + a little more for garnish
2 to 4 Tbsp Bourbon or whisky, to suit your taste
Combine the water and the brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan.
Set on the stove over high heat. Whisk to combine. Bring it up to a boil, whisking occasionally.
Add the cranberries, salt and pepper. You can add the cranberries fresh or frozen. Cook on medium until cranberries pop and mixture thickens nicely.  Add your thyme and, if you choose, your bourbon or whisky.

Cool and put in container. It will keep in the refrigerator for three or four days. Or straight into a pretty service dish.  If you’re lucky, you now get to relax! 

Victoria Abbott is the mysterious collaboration between the artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother, the mystery writer, Mary Jane Maffini.  Strangely enough, their three book collector mysteries, The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow all contain Siamese cats. Coming in September 2015 The Marsh Madness.

And now, because we’re in such a great mood, here’s our gift for you: we’ll draw from the names in the comments – make sure you leave an email address – for a copy of The Wolfe Widow, our Thanksgiving book.  

 Already have it? We’ll make a deal from one of the other Victoria Abbott books or your choice of MJ’s thirteen titles.  Check them out HERE:

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  1. My husband found a glass turkey in an antique store when we were first married. My husband has passed away but the glass turkey is still there ever Thanksgiving!