Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Jalapeño

November 18, 2012

What starts out as a manageable Thanksgiving menu always grows exponentially as the requests come pouring in.

‘Round about a week before the big day I start getting the Must-Haves calls: “You’re making the fresh cranberry orange relish, right?!” “Remember that apricot stuffing you made in 1999?!” “What about the pumpkin pie with the pecans on top?!” “Must have that chestnut stuffing!” “Must have that sausage stuffing!” “Must have garlic mashed potatoes!”

— The Thanksgiving Must-Haves eventually fill the whole kitchen! —

Each family member makes a convincing argument for their Must-Have dish. Usually there’s a loose implication that death might occur without his or her said dish…or at the very least their Thanksgiving won’t be the same without it.

— There are at least three cranberry Must-Haves on a given year —

And I am (as any self-respecting Thanksgiving cook should be) a sucker for taking these requests. My shopping list grows, even throughout Thursday morning, when the Must-Haves continue coming in requiring at least two more emergency trips to the grocery store. By the time Thanksgiving dinner rolls around, The Muddy Kitchen is like a Rolling Stones concert – an anthology of old favorites plus a few odd new numbers tossed in to keep the diehard audience on their toes.

— Everyone has a secret need for the canned stuff. I satisfy it with a home-made version —

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Jalapeño is a recent inductee to The Muddy Kitchen cranberry collection. With a little spice and heat, its flavors are a bit more adventurous than the cran classics and it’s a great way to utilize the oven before the turkey goes in. Roasting cranberries a gorgeous way to concentrate their flavor and jewel-like intensity. Saveur is another favorite resource for overall food porn and Turkey Day recipes.



1 orange

1 lb. fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp flavorful olive oil

1 tsp. salt

4 green cardamom pods, smashed

4 whole cloves

2 sticks cinnamon

1 small jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced

2 tbsp. port

  1. Heat oven to 450°. Using a peeler, remove peel from the orange, taking off as little of the bitter white pith as possible.
  2. Cut peel into very thin strips about 1” long.
  3. Squeeze juice from the orange; strain and reserve 1 tbsp. juice.
  4. In a bowl, combine peel, cranberries, sugar, olive oil, salt, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and jalapeños.
  5. Toss and transfer to a parchment paper–lined or nonstick baking sheet.
  6. Roast until cranberries begin to burst and release their juices, about 15 minutes.
  7. Transfer cranberry mixture to a bowl; stir in reserved orange juice and port. Let sit for at least 1 hour (this is one of my ‘make the day before’ dishes). Remove and discard cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon before serving.

— A photogenic Turkey Day is the ultimate compliment! —


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Stewart Putney

Nice recipe…like the roasting and the spice…. we are already cooking for Thursday (ugh)…


Jennifer Solow

Whacha making, Putnuts?



stones concert… so true, so true. xo



That cranberry recipe looks excellent – dare I try it or will I be opening the door to requests to make it for the next 20 years? I am a friend of your mom in Pittsburgh and hope that you send a bushel of those excellent spiced pecans home with her for her to share.


Jennifer Solow

Thanks D’Ann! You’ll need to make some yourself! Unfortunately this year we’re not spending TD together! Just fry the little guys up with some sugar and a sprinkling of chile powder and a bit of salt. Each year I do them a little differently (more sugar, less sugar, different spice) so try a small batch and see how it goes. They’re impossible to resist!



Loving this! You are an old softie with all your must-haves – three kinds of cranberry sauce – Heavens above! I might make it to two with this gorgeous recipe (mainly for me as the older folks might faint with the jalpenos). Thanks for the inspiration. Just pinned this, m’dear


Jennifer Solow

The jalapeño is not as ‘hot’ in this recipe as it might sound, K. The pepper flavor provides a little backdrop for the sweety sauce more than heat. I prefer to think of it as a ‘sophisticated’ alternative to the straight up stuff.

Make sure you seed your jalapeños (wear gloves and don’t touch your privates while cooking! …good advice in general :-)) and chop them up finely. Give the old folks some credit, lady!




I enjoyed the “photogenic Donny”. What a cutie.


Jennifer Solow

Yes, Janeice – I have tons of photos of my dad on chairs and various pieces of furniture taking pics of the food. He missed his calling as a food blogger. Or at least a food blogger photographer!



I’m fixin’ to make the cranberry sauce right now! I wanted to tell you the life this post took on yesterday at my work. I was talking about the recipe with a friend and told her I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find cardamom pods (never ever have I cooked with them). She gave me a few suggestions and then 15 minutes later I get a text from her saying she had some at home and her husband was bringing them by. Shortly thereafter, she comes by my room with the pods and we are chewing them and smashing them and having quite a good time, which attracts a little crowd. To finally get to the point- a little trail of teachers left my room with your url and little ziplock baggies of cardamom pods. It was a great moment in an otherwise dull 12 hour day of parent/teacher conferences!
Happy Thanksgiving, Jennifer. I have so enjoyed your posts and wish you and yours peace, joy, and love. Becky


Jennifer Solow

What a great story, Becky!! I love that! You made my morning! xx jennifer


Jennifer Solow

Another great thing for your cardamom pods is to add a few to a simple, summery cucumber salad (but throw out before you serve).

Slice an English cucumber into thin slices – I use a mandoline for this. Add seasoned rice wine vinegar, a bit of water and toss in a few cardamom pods. In an hour the flavors meld and you have a hit!


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