Jellied Cranberry Sauce, and 2 more dishes to make your Thanksgiving feast stand out

First things first — I’d like to thank everyone who came out to see me and try my apple cider pulled pork at the Maine Harvest Festival. It was a pleasure to meet you all, and all your kind words were very encouraging. When I started writing about food, I never would have dreamed that someday, someone would clip my recipe from the paper and stick it on their fridge. It is one of the highest compliments I have ever been paid, and I hope I continue to live up to your praise!

I don’t know about you, but I love jellied cranberry sauce. As a person whose opinion on food is often sought, I feel guilty admitting that — after all, the “foodie” thing to do is make your own, right? My father loved whole berry sauce, but I just can’t stand the texture of the skins! Well, I have good news for those of you who share my preference, but still want to make your own cranberry sauce at home: it doesn’t have to be whole berry.

I started out using a recipe from the Ocean Spray website, but I found that while it was delicious, it didn’t gel as much as I wanted it to. I tried again, this time adding a little instant pectin, but it was still a no-go. Third time is the charm — the addition of Knox unflavored gelatin was the key.

The butternut quinoa ‘cupcakes’ are an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe that I made for Thanksgiving last year. It was a hit at both my mother’s and Ian’s parents’ houses; if I may be so bold, my own additions take Martha’s original to new levels — and they’re ‘cupcakes’ as much as hers is ‘pie.’ And speaking of new levels — celeriac (the bulbous root of the celery plant) can add nutritional value in the form of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as a unique flavor, to your mashed potatoes, so you can feel a little less guilty about all that yummy butter and cream you add to them. I hope you all enjoy your holiday as much as I plan to; Ian and I will spend the early part of the day with my family in Windsor, then travel to Rumford to visit with his family in the evening before returning home to Bangor. Safe travels to you, if you will be joining us on the road!


Jellied Cranberry Sauce

    2 12-ounce bags fresh cranberries

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 packets Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 c. water (to soften gelatin)

In a saucepan, place cranberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until all the berries have burst. In a mixing bowl with a pour spout, whisk together gelatin and 1/4 c. water until gelatin is dissolved. Pour cranberry mixture through a strainer, pressing to make sure you remove as much liquid from the pulp and skin as possible, and mix cranberry liquid well to disperse gelatin. Pour into a greased ring mold or cookie sheet (you can use a cookie cutter to make fun holiday shapes once it has set up) or — if you’re a traditionalist who likes those unmistakable lines — save and rinse two standard-sized cans ahead of time and grease them to mold your homemade jellied cranberry sauce in.


Whipped Potatoes with Celeriac

  • 1 lb celeriac
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c. half & half
  • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2 scallions, chopped

Peel and cube potatoes and celeriac — make sure to get all the gnarled bits off the celery root — and boil in a pot of unsalted water until softened. Drain immediately and pass through ricer or food mill back into the saucepan. Warm milk and butter separately, then add to potato and celeriac mixture, stirring until combined. Add parmesan cheese, then salt and pepper to your liking. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with scallions (or chives, if you prefer.)


Butternut Quinoa ‘Cupcakes’

  • 1 medium butternut (or your favorite squash) cubed
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 c. chicken stock (or use vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish)
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1 c. ricotta cheese
  • 6-12 fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook squash according to your preference and time allotted — roasting may take longer than boiling, but will add a depth to the flavor of the dish. In a saucepan, heat oil and soften onions. Add garlic, sage, nutmeg and quinoa and toast lightly — until it begins to smell nutty — then add stock and squash, mix well, and cover. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, then add in cheeses. Place sage leaves face-down in the cups of a greased jumbo muffin pan (or make 12 standard-sized ‘cupcakes’ in a standard pan) and press quinoa mixture into them. Bake 20-30 minutes or until they begin to crisp. Invert onto a serving platter and enjoy.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.