Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year, and this would be the second year where I spent Thanksgiving away from my family. I missed Thanksgiving when I was 19 and living in Mexico, but for some reason, this year it seemed a lot harder. In order to remedy this situation, I decided to hold a Colombian Thanksgiving at my apartment for three of my close friends from the Ministry of Education.
Determined to have the typical Thanksgiving foods – turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, bread, salad, mashed potatoes, casseroles, pumpkin desserts, pecan pie, etc. – I set out to go grocery shopping. After going to over five grocery stores, I soon came to realize I was going to have to make some adjustments. My cranberry sauce was one of these things that had to be adjusted. Fresh or frozen cranberries do not exist here, and nor does canned cranberry sauce (if I wanted the easy way out).
I was able to find a large bag of dried cranberries, so I set out to google “how to make cranberry sauce with dried cranberries.” I ended up finding a recipe on an ex-pat website (no surprise there – cranberry sauce is unique to the States, I believe), and I decided to modify it even farther. I had found some agraz berries in a small fruit and veggie shop, and after trying them I decided that they would make a great addition to the sauce. Apparently agraz berries are barberries, but I actually don’t know what those are. Experiments can sometimes lead to great discoveries, and the sauce turned out wonderfully!
Dried Cranberry-Agraz Sauce
Makes about 4-5 cups of sauce
3 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups agraz berries
2 cups cranberry juice (if the juice is unsweetened, you may have to add some sugar)
zest of 2 oranges
juice from 2 oranges
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup cornstarch mixed into 1/2 cup water
Add all the ingredients except for the cornstarch to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the cranberries plump up and the agraz berries are cooked.
Then, add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce, slowly stirring while the sauce is at a slow simmer until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.
Decorate with orange slices if desired and chill until cold. Can be made the day before.