We are just coming up on the end of fresh cranberry season. But if you’re like me, you probably have a bag or two stashed away in your freezer. On the other hand, if you’re the type who thinks cranberries are just for Thanksgiving, think again.

Very Cranberry is a slim volume dedicated to broadening your cranberry horizons. Sure there are the traditional cranberry recipe like Classic Cranberry Muffins and Cranberry Nut Bread but how about Crabcakes with Cranberry Lemon Aioli? Or Goat Cheese Tart with Cranberry-Onion Confit?

This book has a little bit of everything, salads and starters, side dishes, entrees, holiday relishes and gifts, breads and other baked goods and of course, desserts. The recipes are well-written, fairly easy and use widely available ingredients.

Author Jennifer Trainer Thompson has written the perfect book for cranberry lovers. The introduction shares the history of cranberries in the US and how cranberries were used by Native Americans. Criticisms? The book will whet your appetite with only 40 recipes and there could have been a bit more about the health properties. But for $5.95, it’s a bargain and would make a terrific gift with perhaps a batch of Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti?

Braised Lamb Shanks with Sweet Garlic and Cranberry Jus
These lamb shanks are complemented by roasted Yukon Gold potatoes

1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 (1 pound) lamb shanks
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup port
2 cups beef stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine he cranberries, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened.
Remove from the heat and set aside.

Pat the lamb shanks dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the lamb and sear on all sides browning well, about 8 minutes. Remove the shanks and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Stir in the port, stock, garlic, rosemary and cranberry mixture. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the lamb shanks, cover and braise in the oven for 1 hour. Turn the shanks over and continue cooking for 1 hour longer. Remove the lamb shanks from the oven. Transfer to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer the Dutch oven to the stove top. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in the butter. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced. Serve the lamb shanks topped with jus. Serves 2.

Cook by the Book: Very Cranberry 11 January,2006Amy Sherman

  • potsticker

    This sounds nice. I love the idea of the shanks. But (gentle criticism): I’m not sure how trustworthy your recipe transcription would be, since there are lots of typos in your post. If you proofread yourself, you might smooth out all the boo-boos. (Recipes are notoriously hard to transcribe anyway.)
    No hard feelings?

  • Amy Sherman

    So sorry, but an unedited version was posted earlier. It has now been completely corrected. The recipe is exactly the same as in the book. I promise!

  • potsticker

    Abject apologies. I read the earlier version, and my comment didn’t go through, and then I came back later to resend my “gentle criticism” — but I didn’t bother to check that you had edited. My bad.
    Brava! Now for sure I’ll try the shanks. Thanks, Amy.

  • shuna fish lydon

    Cranberries yeah!

    I just wish they were more readily available year-round. (that’s my own personal criticism, but of the cranberry industry.)

    And I like that cranberries have always been excellent, but never “trendy.”


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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