The Two Best Things to Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce
I fully planned on buying a turkey breast for my downsized Thanksgiving this year, yet when it came time to order the main course, my brain shut off, muscle memory took over, and I ordered a whole bird. Luckily, it was only a 10-pound bird, but 10 pounds of turkey is still a whole bunch of turkey for four people (the number of people in my small bubble). I also made “normal” batches of everything else, including cranberry sauce, because I like making cranberry sauce. This meant a lot of leftovers, which is not a bad thing, as it leaves a lot of room for creativity.
I particularly enjoy getting creative with my sauced cranberries. Cranberry sauce is great on a turkey sandwich, yes, but there are two other possible applications that deserve a little more attention: mustardy, simmered glazes (for meats) and strong, fruity cocktails. Though at opposite ends of the food preparation spectrum, both benefit from the addition of fruity sweetness, a bit of acid, and a bright ruby hue, and that is exactly what cranberry sauce brings to the table.
Make an outstanding glaze
I realize that “glaze” sounds suspiciously close to what cranberry sauce is, but trust me when I say this one is different. One of my favorite glazes for roasted meats (or party meatballs) involves the sticky-sweet combination of some sort of mustard with some sort of jam. The mustard thins the preserved fruit into a pourable, brushable sauce while providing palate-balancing pungency. This same maneuver can be applied to cranberry sauce, and you can brush the resulting glaze all over your leftover turkey wings (which is exactly what I did, after crisping up the wings in the air fryer).
The choice of mustard is up to you (I used Dijon) but aim for a ratio of one part mustard to two parts cranberry sauce. Heat it all up over medium-low heat, stirring near constantly until you have a warm, sticky glaze. Taste and add more mustard or cranberry if needed. Pour on party meatballs, any sort of roasted meat, or leftover turkey.
Shake up a beautiful cocktail
About three years ago for Three-Ingredient Happy Hour, I created a cocktail called the “Cranberry Sauced,” and I was very pleased with it. It you have not made it, you should. It contains only three ingredients (obviously) , it’s made with satsuma juice, and it is very delicious. Once you’ve exhausted your supply of satsumas, you can pivot to the jam cocktail format, which calls for lemons and limes (a much cheaper genre of citrus).
If you are not familiar with the jam cocktail, don’t worry. It’s very easy. All you need is:
- 2 ounces of spirit of your choice
- 3 tablespoons of cranberry sauce (or any jam or fruit preserve)
- 1/2-1 ounce of fresh lemon juice (depending on how sweet your sauce is)
Combine everything in a shaker filled with ice and shake until it is very cold. Double strain through a fine mesh sieve and enjoy with your sweet and tangy cranberry wings. Repeat until you are out of cranberry sauce.