My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the day-after turkey sandwich, and mine always includes a healthy smear of cranberry sauce. Honestly, though, that’s all the action the leftover cranberry sauce usually sees until I pitch it a week or two later.
That changes with this column. Canned cranberry sauce (or homemade, as long as yours skews sweet not savory) adds punch swirled into a lemon Bundt cake or, in an unusual smoothie, buzzed in the blender with orange juice and dates. If your sauce does have savory notes — say, onions or garlic or bay — but also if it’s sweet or from a can, it can dress up a pan full of roasted sausages and squash for a hearty, tangy-sweet one-dish dinner.
LEMON-CRANBERRY SWIRL CAKE
1 10-inch Bundt cake
Nonstick baking spray
1 14-ounce can jellied or whole-cranberry sauce (about 1½ cups)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3½ tablespoons juice and 3 tablespoons grated zest from 2 lemons
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup plus 2½ to 3½ teaspoons buttermilk
1⅓ cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks
3 large eggs
1⅛ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
Set the rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch nonstick Bundt pan liberally with baking spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cranberry sauce, brown sugar, 1½ teaspoons lemon juice, and a pinch of salt, and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt, and set aside. In a third (nonreactive) bowl, whisk ¾ cup buttermilk and 3 tablespoons lemon juice and set aside.
With a hand-held or standing mixer at medium speed, beat the granulated sugar and lemon zest until moist and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the butter, and beat at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, beat well, and scrape again. Reduce mixer speed to low; add about one-third of flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk mixture, mixing until just incorporated after each addition, about 5 seconds. Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape again and add remaining flour mixture; increase mixer speed to medium-low and mix until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.
Scrape half the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Pour the cranberry mixture over the batter and with a dinner knife make shallow swirls. Add the remaining batter evenly, smooth the surface, and bake until the cake is deep golden brown, feels firm to the touch, and a long toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Place the cake on a wire rack and cool for about 15 minutes; turn the cake out, place it right side up onto the rack, and cool to room temperature.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Add 2½ teaspoons of the remaining buttermilk, remaining ⅛ teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt, and whisk until thick and uniform (if necessary, add up to 1 teaspoon more buttermilk, about ¼ teaspoon at a time, to achieve a drizzling consistency). Spoon the glaze over the cake, rest for glaze to set, about 20 minutes, slice, and serve.
CRANBERRY-ROASTED SAUSAGES AND SQUASH
I use fresh turkey sausages, which give off a lot of liquid when they cook. Substituting fresh pork sausages or cooked chicken sausages is fine, but if you do, whisk in ¼ cup orange or cranberry juice at the beginning with the cranberry sauce.
3 medium delicata squash (about 1¾ pounds), scrubbed and not peeled
1 cup jellied or whole-cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons fresh
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce or chili-garlic paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, cut into ¾-inch wedges
9 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
8 fresh turkey sausages (about 2½ pounds), halved crosswise
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Set the rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large, heavy rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan with foil and set aside. Trim the squash ends, halve lengthwise and seed, then cut each half into 4 half-moons.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cranberry sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and set aside. In a very large bowl, toss the squash, onion, garlic, and oil, then add the thyme and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and toss again. Add the sausages and cranberry mixture, and toss. In the pan, spread the mixture evenly in a single layer and roast until the sausages are cooked through and the squash is tender, about 35 minutes, stirring twice in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Add most of the scallions and stir gently to mix. Transfer the mixture to a platter, taking care to scrape the sauce from the sheet onto the sausage and vegetables, sprinkle with the remaining scallions, and serve at once.
CRANBERRY, ORANGE, AND DATE SMOOTHIE
Makes about 4 cups
3 large ice cubes
1 14-ounce can jellied or whole-cranberry sauce (about 1½ cups), cold
⅔ cup cranberry juice, cold
⅔ cup chopped pitted dates
½ teaspoon finely grated zest and ½ cup juice, chilled, from 1 orange
¾ cup plain yogurt, cold
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pulse the ice in a blender to crush. Add the cranberry sauce and juice, dates, orange zest and juice, yogurt, vanilla, and a tiny pinch of salt, and puree until smooth, at least 30 seconds. Serve at once.
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