Cranberry sauce is the brunt of many a joke -- that stuff that comes out of the can in a solid lump looking nothing like sauce -- but it need not be. Cranberry sauce is easily one of the most simple menu items you will prepare for Thanksgiving -- as easy as mashed potatoes. My son Geoffrey asks for it every year. It's his "it's not Thanksgiving without..." menu item. He makes it only slightly more complicated for me by requesting it be completely smooth and chunk-free. It adds an extra step or two to traditional cranberry sauce, but he's my baby (and I tease him that he likes his cranberry sauce baby food style). If you like a chunky sauce, just stop after you cook the mixture, refrigerate and pull it out an hour or two before dinner is served. I made mine last night.
Orange Cranberry Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice (not from concentrate, either fresh squeezed or good bottled juice)
1/2 cup water
3 cups rinsed cranberries
1 pear, peeled, cored and diced (you could also use an apple or just omit entirely)
Combine sugar, water and orange juice in a saucepan.
Turn onto medium heat. Add cranberries and pear. Bring to a simmer and turn down slightly so it doesn't bowl over. Cook for about 10 minutes. You will hear the cranberries popping -- that's good. Cook until pear is soft and cranberries look pretty well popped.
If you want a chunky sauce, pour mixture into a storage bowl and cover. Refrigerate until Thanksgiving.
For a smooth, seed and pulp-free sauce, cool mixture slightly. Pour into food processor or blender. Process (or blend) until pureed.
A little at a time, pour mixture through a sieve into a bowl, using a spatula to scrape the seeds aside. Cover and refrigerate until Thanksgiving. Spoon sauce into a serving dish.