it’s that time of year again. cranberry time. every year i make a pot of cranberry sauce. a big pot. three bags at a time, minimum. when the kids (my two girls and my cousin’s three boys) were young, we discovered that they would eat the fresh stuff by the bowlful! as a result, i make at least three bags for thanksgiving and a couple more for christmas.
cranberries blend with so many flavors but i stick to a few that i know will work and the rest depends on what i have handy. oranges will work but if i have tangerines or clementines, i prefer those. ruby port is nice but i have used merlot, zinfandel and cabernet all with wonderful results. apples, sure if i have one or two and i have thrown in a ripe pear before too. but some things never change; there will always be a cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean and some star anise pods.
don’t you love the color? that is one of my favorite shades of the season. the recipe is a little like a pot of soup, wing it! however, i will give you the basic proportions to help you out.
cranberry-tangerine sauce with cabernet
makes about 6-8 cups
3 bags of cranberries
3 cups sugar
2-3 tangerines or clementines (1-2 oranges, if preferred), zest and juice only
1-2 apples, any variety, peeled, cored and diced on the small side
1 cup cabernet sauvignon (merlot, zinfandel, ruby port or other red wine)
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 vanilla bean scraped, use the pod and seeds
2-3 star anise pods
to make it easier to remove them, put the vanilla pod(the seeds can go in with the rest of the ingredients) and the star anise into a spice/tea ball and hang it from the side of the pot. place all of the ingredients in a large pot with 3 cups of water and bring it to a gentle boil. continue to cook until the berries burst and cook down a bit and some of the liquid reduces. the longer you cook it, the thicker it will be and the less sour the berries will taste. remove the teaball and drain the liquid back into the pot and discard the vanilla pod and star anise pods and also remove the cinnamon stick, allow it to drain as well. chill it completely before serving. this is something that can be made as much as a week in advance so take advantage of that!