Cooking with cranberries isn't just about sauce

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One of my favorite things in the whole world is cranberries. I love them, mostly paired with orange, in hearty dishes, cookies, breads, candy, salads, side dishes (especially my dad's cranberry relish) -- you name it, I love them.

While having dinner with my friend Janice Friedrich recently, I told her I had to head home and write a recipe column. She suggested I do it on cranberries, and I thought it was a prefect column in thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I got all of today's recipes from Taste of Home and Ocean Spray. Both had many recipes to choose from, and for me it was quite difficult. I have made the cookie recipe, and they are well worth the effort, because they are so delicious.

Cranberry Stuffing Balls

1 pound bulk pork sausage

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 package (7 ounces) herb-seasoned stuffing croutons

3/4 cup fresh cranberries, halved

2 eggs, well beaten

1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

In a skillet, cook sausage, celery and onion until sausage is done and vegetables are tender. Drain excess fat. In a large bowl, combine the meat mixture with remaining ingredients and enough broth to hold mixture together. Shape into 8-10 balls. Place in a greased shallow baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes eight to 10 servings.

Cranberry Orange Chicken

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 broiler/fryer chicken (about 3 pounds), cut up

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups whole fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups orange juice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Red food coloring, optional

Combine the flour and salt and place in a plastic bag. Shake chicken, a few pieces at a time, in flour mixture. Melt butter in a large skillet, brown chicken on all sides. In a saucepan, combine remaining ingredients except food coloring; bring to a boil and pour over chicken. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Remove chicken to warm platter. Bring sauce to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add a few drops red food coloring if desired. Serve sauce over chicken.

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 (8 to 10 ounce) pork tenderloin

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Sear pork on all sides, about 2 minutes. Place skillet with pork in oven. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 155 degrees, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and rosemary; sauté until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add broth, cranberry sauce and vinegar and whisk until cranberry sauce melts, about 2 minutes. Transfer pork to work surface. Scrape any juices from large skillet into cranberry mixture. Boil until sauce has reduced enough to coat spoon thickly, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Slice pork and serve with sauce.

Apple Cranberry Chicken Salad

1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast

1 celery rib, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped red apple

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise

2 lettuce leaves

1 bacon strip, cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons chopped almonds

In a small bowl, combine the chicken, celery, apple and cranberries. Stir in mayonnaise. Serve on lettuce; sprinkle with bacon, blue cheese and almonds. Yield: 2 servings.

Cranberry Apple Pie

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

4 cups sliced peeled tart apples

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

2 tablespoons butter

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Add apples and cranberries; toss gently. Line a 9-inch pie plate with bottom pastry. Add filling; dot with butter. Roll the remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Cut vents in pastry, using a small apple cutter if desired. Place over filling; seal and flute the edges. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350; bake 50 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Cranberry Spritzer

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

2 cups sparkling apple cider

5 strawberries

2 1/3-ounce packages strawberry-flavored Pop Rocks candy (optional)

In a large pitcher, combine the cranberry juice and cider. Cut 1 strawberry in half, rub the rims of 4 glasses with the cut pieces, and dip the rims in the Pop Rocks to coat (if using). Serve the juice mixture over ice in the prepared glasses. Garnish with the remaining whole strawberries.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (5 ounce) package dried cranberries

2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Have a great week and, until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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