M: Stepping forth from the Thanksgiving leftovers. What did the cranberries look like on your Thanksgiving table growing up. At my house it was jelled cranberries, which emerged from the can with a mighty slooooooorp before being cut into perfect discs of deliciousness. Loved it. Still do. But at some point I got all highfalutin and decided what we really needed were *fresh* cranberries. Loved those too. Also still do. What we never got around to was the Congealed Salad. That’s jello salad to you and me, often augmented with the likes of marshmallows, carrots, coconut, what have you. At many holiday tables the cranberries were unabashedly served in molded jello form. Never had it. Not once. So when this recipe came up, I knew it belonged on my Thanksgiving table and, although the recipe calls for it to be served in a flat pan, i knew this was my chance to embrace the elusive jello mold. I know for many, of not most of you, the jello mold is such a standard that my fascination might seem a strange, but call it a gap in my culinary upbringing. The best part was a tip someone shared with me for ensuring it leaves the mold intact. Dip the bottom in hot water for a moment before turning it. Slid right out. Genius!
Not quite a dump and serve recipe, but it is in the ballpark. Boxes of jello, cans of cranberry sauce and pineapple, hot water. No mini-marshmallows in sight, so let’s roll with it. While we call this “Congealed Cranberry Salad”, nobody *really* thinks it’s salad any more than we buy that pizza is a vegetable. Except this one takes the charade one step further with the inclusion of actual salad dressing. Come on. Who are you fooling? It turns out me. I dug this “salad”, but the addition of poppy seed dressing really brings it home. My dinner guests asked if the dressing was actually for the jello. Yep. Really? Mmm hmm. They got on board. It ended up a real winner and was the first of the leftovers to disappear. Loved it. Hmm. Maybe I just like cranberries a lot.
Recipe: Cranberry Congealed Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Summary: Many Thanksgiving tables would be incomplete without the cranberry jello salad, but the addition of poppy seed dressing takes this one a step further. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.
- 2 (3oz) Boxes Lemon Jell-O
- 2 (3oz) Boxes Cranberry or Cherry Jell-O
- 2 c Boiling Water
- 1 c Crushed Pineapple, drained
- 1 (16oz) Can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
- 1 c Mayonnaise
- 1 T Poppy Seeds
- Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water.
- Stir in pineapple and cranberry sauce (make sure sauce dissolves completely).
- Pour into 9 in balking dish or Jell-O mold.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
- Stir poppy seeds into mayonnaise for dressing.
- To serve, cut salad into portions and top with dollop of dressing.