In my family, we always had cranberry sauce on the table as part of every holiday dinner, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and even Easter. There is something fun about opening the can and watching the molded shape as it slowly slides out onto the plate. While living abroad I was disappointed that canned cranberry sauce was nowhere to be found in Germany, and to enjoy the taste I would have to learn to make it myself.
Last December was the first time I made my own cranberry sauce; we had invited some close friends over for a Christmas dinner, some of them European but a few Americans would be there too, so I knew I had to serve cranberry sauce. My first recipe consisted of fresh cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and lemon zest. This year, I experimented a little. What could I add to this recipe to give it a little something more? The answer turned out to be red wine. But then isn’t wine always the answer?
A splash of good wine adds depth and flavor to any dish. This cranberry sauce has a bright, tangy, sweet flavor, and provides a nice contrast to rich holiday foods. This recipe is not only simple (only four ingredients) but it takes only about 20 minutes to make. Another plus is that you can prepare it up to 5 days in advance. Its beautiful color, and delicious flavor will surely be a hit on your holiday table.
12 ounces fresh or frozen whole cranberries (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dry red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
a small pinch or two of lemon or orange zest
Over medium high heat in saucepan combine cranberries, wine, and sugar. Place lid on the sauce pan and bring to a steady boil. If the mixture is splattering, your heat is too high. After 10 minutes reduce heat and simmer, stirring often until the cranberries have burst and released their juices. The mixture will foam as it simmers. Add a pinch of lemon or orange zest, stir and let cool. Note, the mixture will thicken as it cools.