There's no question that cranberry sauce is a necessary component of Thanksgiving dinner. This tart, bright condiment is the perfect counterpoint to bland turkey. The only decision here is canned or homemade? I actually had a good friend from college who insisted on having cranberry sauce from the can, complete with the raised rings from the sides of the can (which verified from whence it came). The beauty of homemade cranberry sauce, though, is that it can be made days ahead and doesn't take more than 10 minutes to make. And it's miles above the canned variety (sorry, Ocean Spray folks--nothing personal). My version has lots of ginger in it--fresh and crystallized--and a hint of orange. The toasted pecans give it some crunch.
Cranberry Orange Ginger Sauce with Toasted Pecans
Makes about 2 ¼ cups
One 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot
¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup toasted pecan halves, coarsely chopped
Combine the cranberries, orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Cool, then chill until an hour or so before serving. The sauce is best served at room temperature.