I’ve been looking at cranberry sauce in a different light this year… I used to make a simple cold relish-like cranberry mixture, but have found that I really like the thicker consistency of a cooked cranberry sauce instead. It works better in a leftover sandwich and just tastes better to me. I posted a sauce recipe that was blended with figs and cassis, but that just didn’t seem “clean” enough for me. I wanted that true, tart cranberry taste on both the first bite as well as the finish so here, dear reader, is the result of that search.
I started with my sister, Jessica’s, cranberry sauce recipe and deviated a bit. Here are the directions to Jessica’s Cranberry Sauce:
Empty a 12-oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup of said cranberries to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest, and 2 Tablespoons of water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt, and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.
I loved the idea of making a cooked cranberry sauce, but wasn’t so sure about having so many whole berries in the final product. Apparently, when our mum made this for Jess, she stomped all the berries down and made jam instead of cranberry sauce, so I was warned to make this ahead of time. We each have our preferences, so my version uses the following changes to Jessica’s basic Cranberry sauce recipe…
- Grate half an orange instead of using a strip of zest – next time I’ll probably try grating the entire orange or grate half an orange and half a lemon. The citrus taste is pretty darn yummy.
- Replace the water with 2 Tablespoons of James River Cellars’ Reserve Chardonnay. I think our stainless chardonnay would work well in this recipe as well, but I’m planning to use an entire bottle of the Reserve Chardonnay throughout my Christmas dinner, so you’ll see it pop up a few more times before the holiday meal is complete.
- I lightly chopped the 1/2 cup of reserved berries (as seen in the center photo) so the uncooked berry pieces aren’t as huge.
I like the small changes I made to my sister’s fabulous cranberry sauce… they seem more in keeping with the way I cook and the final product is really tasty. Feel free to experiment with flavors that you enjoy and come up with your own version of a new family favorite.
It’s really all about playing with your food…and using The Force to come up with something new… are you ready to try it?