Jellied cranberry sauce—indented by the ridges of the can from which it slithers—is my secret Thanksgiving love. It’s not the flavor that keeps drawing me back, since the overt, one-note sweetness dominates the fruity tang. I’m more captivated by its physical qualities: the alluring smoothness, the playful jiggle, and the way the semitranslucent ruby gel catches the light. This year I set out to create a DIY version with those attributes and more. I’d be in full control of the sugar, and the sky would be the limit in terms of flavoring and molding options.
I started by adding a modest amount of granulated sugar along with a little salt to a saucepan filled with 12 ounces of fresh cranberries. I poured in 3 cups of water, simmered the mixture until the berries popped, and then strained out the skins and seeds. After stirring in a whisper of vanilla to bring everything to life, I poured the garnet liquid into a mold and chilled it for 4 hours.
It gelled beautifully. That’s because cranberries are both rich in pectin and naturally acidic. Pectin is a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of fruit; these walls break down when the fruit is heated, releasing the pectin. In a sugary, acidic environment, the long-chain molecules interact and tangle, trapping liquid and dissolved sugar to form a gel as the mixture cools.
And yet, this attempt had neither the coveted smoothness nor the translucence of the canned stuff. Instead, it was somewhat grainy and as stodgy and opaque as tomato paste.
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Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.