This month, I’ve chosen to feature cranberry sauce because most families have their highly- prized, top- secret recipes for their turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, and especially gravy. (Refer to November 2019 for my all-purpose chicken gravy/ cheese sauce recipe.) Yet, I always notice that at the family table, among everyone’s finest culinary presentations, there is that one dish of maroon-colored gelatinous, can-shaped cranberry flavored-corn starch, blob which looks about as appetizing as a the giant blood clot that killed the Woolly Mammoth. Folks, if this applies to you, there is a severe deficit of love on that plate which resonates with a jiggle of sadness and you’ve suffered for long enough, it’s time for a change.
In full disclosure, this recipe is sort of a non-gourmet variation of Gordon Ramsay’s cranberry-apple sauce from his holiday special on the BBC, where he uses all fresh produce & makes difficult concepts look easy. His recipe is not easy, I’ve made it many times, which is why I swapped out all the fresh produce and unnecessary prep that goes with it so you can whip this up quickly with shelf-stable products. It should be made days ahead of being served since it takes a few days for the flavors come together. It still tastes absolutely amazing and along with turkey dinner, it works very well in a cobbler, or my favorite… with a Monte Cristo sandwhich!
We start by draining whole liter bottle of red wine, I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon (pardon my French), into a stock pot. Add a few spices: Bay leaf, Star Anise, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Allspice, and black peppercorns. Bring this to a boil to remove the alcohol, steep the spices (just a pinch of each), and reduce by half it’s volume in a stock pot. You will need to sweeten things slightly so half a cup of either caramel, honey, maple syrup, unsulfered molasses, or brown sugar are equally good. Just remember that this is supposed to be tart.
Next, fill a second pot or pan with three cans of Bold Rock Hard Cider and again bring to a boil to both reduced it and set it on the straight and narrow. At this point, you can break open a 6 ounce bag of Ocean Spray Craisins (dried cranberries) and dump them into the Bold Rock as it comes to a boil. This will make the cranberries soft. As the hard cider reduces in volume, zest and juice three oranges into your cranberries. Cut some of the rind up into julienne and save until the end just for visual appeal (pun intended).
Have a very wonderful holiday season, see you at the Christmas party!