Cranberries have been served alongside holiday meals long before white settlers immigrated to what we now call America.
Tart red berries, cooked down into a sauce to serve alongside meat, has been a British staple for centuries, and American Indians used cranberries in pemmican, the long-lasting snack made with pulverized or finely chopped dried meat.
Cranberry sauce first started appearing in diaries and letters from English settlers in the 1600s, and by the 1800s, it regularly appeared in American cookbooks.
Sweet, tangy and easy to make, cranberry sauce was a simple way to elevate any kind of meat or game, no matter how (or how well) it was cooked. It’s no wonder we continue to serve it at Thanksgiving and other holiday meals. If the turkey isn’t so great, the cranberry sauce and gravy will fix it, and if the turkey is roasted just right, the cranberry sauce adds another element of complexity to the meal.
But cranberry sauce isn’t the only way to incorporate cranberries on the Thanksgiving table. Here, we offer up recipes for cranberry bars, cranberry pie, cranberry rice salad and cranberry stuffing. Even a pastry-wrapped baked Brie can benefit from a few spoonfuls of stewed cranberries.
My mother-in-law makes this appetizer every year, and it is gone in a flash. Use homemade or store-bought sauce, either for an appetizer on Thanksgiving or at another holiday party this season.
— Addie Gundry
1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crescent rolls