Cabernet Cranberry Sauce is a recipe that is near and dear to me because it sparks one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories.
Not because of the beautiful colors, textures, and flavors…..
Not because of the rich red wine flavor or the zest orange….
Not because of the tart, but sweet bite……
Ron and I bought our first home in 2011 and we moved in mid-November. We were so excited to be in our new house, and prepare for the holidays. It was Thanksgiving day and we were getting ready to head to dinner with Ron’s family. I ran to the basement to get a few serving dishes for sides I prepared, one being Cabernet Cranberry Sauce, and to my horror the was standing water in the basement of my brand new house. We were in a panic because it was very cold outside, and of course getting someone to the house was going to cost an arm and a leg. Ron ended up having to stay home and miss a bulk of the holiday, but the basement got taken care of for a relatively reasonable price considering it was a holiday. I remember finally getting to my mom’s house in tears because I was so upset about my new house, and I felt very accomplished that I had remembered these cranberries. Now, I think about this story and laugh because it was the perfect memory of breaking in a new house. Ultimately, the culprit was an old hand towel that was stuck almost out to the street! Thankfully, we never had issues again, but it is a funny story to think about during this time of year, and makes me feel fortunate that I had this recipe prepped and ready to go to fly out the door as chaos ensued in our basement.
As mentioned above, this sauce has many wonderful qualities. I am partial to red wine in my cranberry sauce because I think it gives a depth of flavor, and really compliments the tart and sweet dynamic. I also really love adding orange zest and juice. The citrus adds a freshness to the sauce, and it compliments the richness of the red wine.
Another plus of making cranberry sauce is how easy it is, and it can be made way in advance so you are not having to worry about it when you are preparing your meal, or when you are getting ready to attend dinner and are bringing cranberry sauce as a side. I love to play around with different mix-ins in the sauce like rum, vanilla, brandy, cinnamon, brown sugar, jalapeno, and apple cider. As long as you keep the cranberry, sugar, and liquid ratios the same the sky is the limit for different variations you can make.
I know some people are not cranberry lovers, but they will have a change of heart once they try a homemade variety over the canned. The flavors are mush richer, more pronounced, and it pairs perfectly with the other traditional Thanksgiving dinner offerings.
Cabernet Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or comparable full-bodied red wine)
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- In a medium sauce pan, add cranberries, sugar, wine, zest, and juice.
- Bring cranberry mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat and partially cover the top of the sauce pan. Lightly simmer for 15 minutes, stirring at the halfway point. Cranberry skins will pop and begin to form a sauce.
- Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool before transferring to a storage container. Cover and chill for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
The sauce can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.