When I was younger, cranberry sauce was one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. That’s probably because my family always had the cranberry sauce that comes in a can (it tasted sugary sweet, which is something every kid loves). You know, the cranberry sauce that you sort of plop out onto a plate? It also had the lines in it from the can, which made it really easy to cut and serve.
Now that I’m older, my tastes have evolved, so I’m not as big a fan of cranberry sauce as I used to be. A few years ago, my wife made some homemade cranberry sauce and I have to admit, it was pretty darn good! It didn’t taste like a slab of super sweet jelly (like the canned stuff), and it once again opened my eyes to the potential of cranberry sauce as a Thanksgiving menu item.
This week’s recipe takes that traditional dish to a new level by adding watermelon. Feel free to check out the recipe below. The National Watermelon Promotion Board has even created a “how-to” video, which I’ve also included. If it looks easy to make, that’s because it is!
4 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup organic sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice from 1 lemon
Zest from 1 lemon
½ cup maple syrup
2 cups minced watermelon
Heat cranberries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest in a 3-quart saucepan over medium low heat until it simmers. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the maple syrup and cinnamon to the pan. Simmer another few minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Stir in watermelon and serve warm or chill and serve cold. Makes about 4 cups.