Monday, November 15, 2010

Cranberry Salad

Thanksgiving is already upon us. Those of you hosting the big dinner are probably already creating your menus and compiling your shopping lists. And, I'm sure that many of you are adding cranberry sauce to your list. You will go to the grocery store and purchase the mandated can of cranberry sauce and, if you can even remember having it on the big day, will pop open the can and release the jellied fruit with its ringed beauty from its tin prison. It will land with a thud on your cut-glass dish and you will slice it to make it "fancy". At  most, two people will eat it. The majority will turn up their noses and declare their hatred; others will simply  ignore it and the sad ruby sauce will meet its end in the trash later that night.

I cannot stand for this! I am in the minority of cranberry sauce lovers. I take pity on the sauce every year and eat more than my share just to show my appreciation for this Thanksgiving classic. This recipe for cranberry salad came from a former co-worker years ago. I didn't have the recipe written down so I had to try to go by memory. Whether I nailed that recipe or not, this recipe is delicious. It can be used as a side dish, but is sweet enough to be a dessert. I may not convert the haters out there, but I'm trying. I hope you'll kindly make this recipe without prejudice.

Cranberry Salad

1-12 oz. package fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
2-3 oz. packages strawberry gelatin
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups mini marshmallows

Place the cranberries in a saucepan. Add sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil on medium heat. Boil until the cranberries start to pop open, about 7 minutes. After most of the cranberries have popped and the mixture has started to thicken, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, pour the gelatin into a large mixing bowl. Add the hot cranberry mixture to the gelatin and stir until the gelatin has melted completely. Add 2 cups of cold water to the mixture. Stir until well blended. Pour into a 9"x13" glass casserole dish. Refrigerate for one hour. 

After one hour, stir the chopped apples into the cranberry mixture. Return to refrigerator to chill. One hour after adding the apples, sprinkle the dish with the pecans and marshmallows. Do not stir, just give a gentle press with your hands. Return the dish to the refrigerator to chill completely, several hours or overnight.

Rinse the cranberries and put in a saucepan. I used the heaviest pot that I had.

Add the sugar to the berries. Like snow on berries.

Add two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. If you've never cooked fresh cranberries, then you're in for a treat. As they heat up, the berries start to burst. I love hearing the little popping sound them make. Not all of the berries will open. I just boil until most of the berries have popped open and the mixture has thickened.

Here's my strawberry gelatin. You could also use cranberry-flavored gelatin if you prefer. Pour the hot cranberry mixture on top of the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.

Add two cups of cold water and stir well. Pour into a 9"x13" glass casserole dish and refrigerate for one hour.

Stir in the chopped apple. I used Golden Delicious because I wanted a sweet apple to balance out the tart cranberries.

I chopped one cup of pecans. You could also use chopped walnuts.

An hour after adding the apples, I added the chopped pecans.

This may be more than two cups of marshmallows, but that's my favorite part! I like to be generous with these.

Sprinkle the marshmallows over the pecans and press in a little with your hand. You can be as generous as you want with the marshmallows. I actually like my salad covered with them. Return to the refrigerator and chill until the gelatin is completely set, several hours or overnight.


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