The unsung hero of autumn, cranberries are typically experienced by the average American only in the form of a gelatinous slice from a can-shaped blob on Thanksgiving. Here in Maine, fresh cranberries are available around this time of year, and they’re good for so much more than just sauce. They are naturally high in vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein and folate and minerals like potassium and manganese. In addition, they can help to prevent plaque formation on your teeth and in your heart and blood vessels.
Fresh, frozen or dried, they can also add a little interest to your food. I munch Craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries) by the handful when I don’t have time for breakfast before work, or to tide me over until I’m finished making dinner. Sometimes, I even throw a handful or two into dinner to add a tangy, sweet kick to an otherwise potentially heavy dish. They’re great in cookies, cakes, muffins and any other baked good you can imagine. And, though we typically associate cranberries with turkey, they can even contribute to a mouth-watering roast beef.
Cranberry Pot Roast
- 1 beef roast
- 1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 large onion
- 5 whole garlic cloves
- 2 c. beef stock
- 2 c. cranberry juice cocktail
- 1/2 can jellied cranberry sauce
- 1/2 c. flour
In a crock pot, place cranberries, onion and garlic. Place the roast on top of these and add stock and cranberry juice. Cook on low for 8 hours or more. Remove meat to a serving dish and keep warm. Strain solids from cooking broth and pour liquid into a saucepan. Add flour and whisk over medium heat until thickened. Add jellied cranberry sauce and whisk until combined. Serve roast beef on garlic mashed potatoes and top with cranberry gravy.
Fettuccine with Dried Cranberries and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
- 1 lb fettuccine noodles
- 1 lb fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 lb bacon, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 c. black vinegar (or balsamic, if you don’t have black)
- 1 c. sweetened dried cranberries
In a pot, cook fettuccine noodles to al dente. In a large skillet or wok, render chopped bacon until crispy, then add garlic, red pepper flakes and Brussels sprouts. Saute until sprouts are nicely browned, then add cranberries. As the cranberries begin to plump, add vinegar and pasta, and toss well to coat the pasta before serving.
Orange-glazed Cranberry Doughnuts
- 1 navel orange (zest and juice)
- 1 c. fresh cranberries
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 c. buttermilk
- 2 c. confectioner’s sugar
- sweetened dried cranberries, finely chopped
- oil, for frying
Heat oil in a deep pan or a fryer to 375°F. Mince fresh cranberries well (I used a food processor.) Add flour, spices, orange zest, baking powder, sugar and salt and combine well. Add egg and buttermilk, and mix until it forms a slightly-sticky dough. (You may need to work in more flour if it is too sticky to begin with.) Roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut using a doughnut or biscuit cutter. Fry for about 3 minutes or until dark golden brown on both sides; remove to paper towel or brown paper bag to drain. Combine confectioner’s sugar and orange juice in a shallow bowl to make a thick glaze; dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze to coat one side, then sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries. (You could also sprinkle on some toasted, chopped pecans.)
For more recipes from my kitchen to yours, please visit http://forkable.net.