Michael McLaughlin, cookbook author, says “When I was much younger, the requisite Thanksgiving cranberry sauce always came out of a can and lay quivering on the plate, just waiting to be sliced and served. As I got older, I came to prefer the whole-berry-style sauce to the smooth. Then, once I began making my own cranberry sauces from scratch, I settled on a great-tasting compromise: This recipe features tangy bits of cranberry in a smooth jewel-toned mold.”
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
# 3 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
# 41/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
# 212-ounce bags cranberries
# 2 1/4cups sugar
# 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
# 1 1/4cups finely chopped celery
Pour 1 cup cranberry juice into small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 20 minutes.
Combine cranberries and sugar in processor. Blend, using on/off turns, until cranberries are finely chopped. Transfer berry mixture to heavy large saucepan; add remaining 2 1/2 cups cranberry juice and lemon juice. Bring berry mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan partially and simmer until cranberry pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin dissolves. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes. Mix in celery.
Rinse 8- to 9-cup decorative mold with cold water and drain well. Spoon cranberry mixture into mold. Cover and refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
Turn mold over onto platter. Soak kitchen towel in very hot water; wring out. Wrap hot towel around mold. Let stand 1 minute. Remove towel. Hold mold and platter together and shake gently until cranberry salad falls onto platter. Repeat with hot towel if necessary to unmold salad. Chill until ready to serve.