Like many great dishes, this one reminds me of my mom — which is always awesome — but truly, it's one of those all-in-one-pot, straightforward recipes that creates a sauce that you can use with savory or sweet foods.
Technique tip: No need to rub a whole piece of fruit against a zester to get orange zest! Cut off a chunk of skin and it will go more smoothly.
Swap option: Swap blueberries for the cranberries, using approximately 4-7 minutes less cooking time.
Place cranberries in a colander and rinse, discarding any damaged or bruised berries. Set aside.2.
Add water and sugar to a medium saucepan, heat on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.3.
Add cranberries to the pot and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cranberries have burst.4.
Once the cranberries have burst, add the orange zest and stir in thoroughly.5.
Remove pot from heat. Let cool completely at room temperature, then stir in vanilla and chili powder, is using, and transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator (the cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).6.
Add all or just a portion (depending on preference for taste and color) to chilled applesauce (get my recipe for applesauce here) and stir to combine.