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Cranberry Pear Sauce

Mariel here. Thanks to my love affair with Costco, I had a jumbo bag of cranberries hanging out in my fridge – taking up space, weighing down my crisper drawer. Cranberries are for Thanksgiving, so once the holiday comes and goes, what on earth are you supposed to do with any leftovers? Has anyone ever even bought cranberry jelly in, say, February?

In addition to my cran-tastic surplus, I also had several over-ripe pears in my coffee table cornucopia just waiting for their turn in the kitchen. You can probably tell where this is going…and it’s going somewhere delicious.

Using my mother’s heavenly Homemade Applesauce recipe as my muse, I concocted a versatile little side that can be eaten on its own or used to spruce up anything from lamb chops to French Toast (more to come on that one). It’s silky and smooth; sweet, tart and totally addictive. Plus, with just a few tablespoons of brown sugar, it’s a whole lot healthier than all the junk I’ve been scarfing down this past month.

PS: Looking for the cheapest, easiest way to entertain friends this December? Check out Patch.com for our tips on hosting a holiday sweet swap.

Cranberry Pear Sauce
Makes about a quart

Note: The cranberry pear sauce can be prepared 3 days ahead ahead of time and will keep for about a week, covered and refrigerated.

6 large ripe pears (I used Bosc, any variety will do), peeled, cored and coarsely chopped – $5.97
2 cups whole cranberries – $2.00
½-teaspoon cinnamon – stock
¼-teaspoon allspice – stock
¼-teaspoon ground ginger – stock
4 Tablespoons packed brown sugar – stock
¾-cup water – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $7.97

1. Combine the prepared pears and cranberries with all of the other ingredients in a heavy stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the fruit is very tender (about 30 minutes).

2. Uncover the pears/cranberries and continue simmering over a slightly higher flame (medium-low) until about half of the liquid has evaporated, 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and mash the fruit with a fork or a potato masher until you create a chunky consistency. I like this smooth, so I actually puree it in a food processor armed with a steel blade.

4. Cover and refrigerate, or serve immediately at room temperature.