It's time to hit the sauce

7 Recipes
Thanksgiving jellied cranberry sauce.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Mouthwatering cranberry sauces and gravies for your Thanksgiving table.

Sauces can make or break a dish and a meal. They add flavor and texture and, most important, moisture. Imagine spaghetti and meatballs with no tomato sauce. Fries without ketchup or mayonnaise. Tacos without guacamole or salsa. Also, as chef Anthony Bourdain noted, an ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins.

We all know that gravy is often used for just that. Turkey slices not quite uniform? Meat too dry? Load it up with gravy. When you want your gravy to look (and taste) just right, check out Russ Parsons’ Giblet Gravy recipe. There’s a full gravy-making tutorial there if you need one. If not, skip to the recipe — it is a keeper! If you want a more intense flavor for your gravy, Genevieve Ko’s Double Mushroom Gravy is umami-rich and vegan to boot (plus, you don’t have to wait until the turkey is done to make it).

Some sauces evoke strong sentiments. My colleague Jenn Harris demonstrates this in her ode to cranberry sauce, which introduces her Jellied Cranberry Sauce. Barbara Hansen feels similarly about her Cranberry-Tangerine Relish. While not everyone waxes poetic about their cranberries, we all agree that cranberry sauce is a must for the Thanksgiving table. If you prefer yours with some kick, try Genevieve Ko’s Habanero Pear Cranberry Sauce. For gentler, more seasonal spice, Donna Deane’s Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce will fill your senses with holiday cheer.

Once you’ve whipped up your cranberry sauce, sit back and pour yourself a drink. The rest is gravy!

Giblet gravy

Time 45 minutes
Yields Makes about 3 cups

Double Mushroom Gravy

Time 1 hour
Yields Makes about 4 cups

Jellied cranberry sauce

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 10 to 12

Cranberry-tangerine relish

Time 10 minutes
Yields Serves 12

Habanero Pear Cranberry Sauce

Time 15 minutes
Yields Makes about 3 cups

Cranberry sauce with apple flavors

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Ruby Port cranberry sauce

Time 20 minutes
Yields Makes about 2 cups