Chef Jill Vedda shares her love of Thanksgiving side dishes—and her recipe for the perfect cranberry sauce. Modern CLE Staff Report
Let’s talk turkey—your Thanksgiving turkey, that is. That bird may be the biggest food item to grace your dinner table, but according to Salt+ Chef and Co-Owner Jill Vedaa, it isn’t the real star of a Thanksgiving meal—your side dishes are.
“I mean, turkey is great and everything,” Vedaa tells Modern CLE, “but I’m a sides girl. I’ll have one piece of turkey, but then I’m all about the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and the stuffing and the gravy—those are my go-tos. And so, I think it’s just as important to have really good sides as it is to have a really good turkey.”
Each Thanksgiving, Vedaa enjoys several sides at her mother’s Thanksgiving dinner: creamy mashed potatoes made from Yukon gold potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy, stuffing, potato-bread buns, and fresh cranberry sauce.
But that last dish—fresh cranberry sauce—might just be Vedaa’s favorite. “It’s a little acidic, a little sweet,” she says. “It cuts through the fat of the gravy and potatoes.”
In addition to complementary flavor profiles, texture play is important on a plate, too, Vedaa says, especially at Thanksgiving. As a Thanksgiving meal moves on, everything on your plate begins to mingle—and the chewy quality of the cranberries stands out against the more soft, subtle textures of mashed potatoes, turkey, and bread. “It all mixes together and works,” Vedaa explains.
But when you prepare your Thanksgiving grocery shopping list this year, don’t simply add canned cranberries; this holiday season, you can step it up a notch and serve a delicious, fresh, and easy-to-make cranberry sauce thanks this recipe provided to Modern CLE by Vedaa.
- ½ cup fresh orange juice, from one orange
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 12-oz. bag fresh cranberries
- Zest of one orange—about 2 teaspoons
- Pinch of salt
- Zest the orange with a micro-plane or citrus zester. Then, cut the orange in half and juice.
- Add juice, water, and sugar to a sauce pot and bring to a simmer.
- Add cranberries and 1 tablespoon of the zest and pinch of salt.
- Cook on medium heat until cranberries break down and become thicker. Then, transfer into serving bowl and chill in refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
- When serving add some of the orange zest as garnish.