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This Drunken Cranberry Sauce Will Enliven Your Holiday Table

cranberry sauce with turkey

This warm, rich variation on traditional cranberry sauce is both sweet and savory, always a great combination, and very different from the traditional Thanksgiving side dish. And don’t worry, you can serve it to the kids. Most of the alcohol evaporates in the cooking.

Drunken Cranberry Sauce Recipe


cranberry sauce with turkey
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
3.19 from 27 votes
Make this recipe with dried cranberries, which get plump and drunk cooked in port. They make the perfect holiday side dish

Course:
Dinner
,
Lunch
,
Sauces and Condiments
,
Side Dish
Cuisine:
American

Makes:

Servings: 4 (about 1 1/2 cups)

Takes:

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle inexpensive American port (750 ml bottle)
  • ½ cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot or onion
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt
  • teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Zest of one medium orange
Notes:
About the cranberries. Don't try this with fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries, sometimes called craisins, are like raisins. The secret is that the dried berries reconstitute with the wine and get plump and rich.
About the port. I prefer New York ruby ports for this recipe because they are fruitier than California ports and tawny ports. Look for Taylor or Widmer. If you can't find them, a California port like Gallo will do just fine.
About the thyme. You can use 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves if you wish, but I prefer the powder because it disappears while leaves get in your teeth. If you have dried thyme, powder them in a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle. If you have fresh thyme, toss in two sprigs about 2" long and then fish them out before serving.
About the white pepper. I prefer white pepper because it disappears in the mix, but if you don't have any, go ahead and use fresh ground black pepper.
About the salt. Remember, Morton coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
About the orange zest. The zest is just the very thin layer or orange on the outer skin of the orange. It is rich in flavor and orange oils. The white layer just below the zest is the pith and it is bitter, so you need an orange zester tool, or a microplane, or a potato peeler to remove it. The zester and microplane produce tiny shreds, perfect for this recipe. If you use a potato peeler, you need to chip the zest into tiny bits. The strips in the picture above are decorative and would need to be chopped up for the recipe. If you get a little white it is OK, but not too much.
Do ahead. This dish can be made in advance and refrigerated. Just leave out the butter. Warm the mix in the microwave or a saucepan, then add the butter, and stir it in with a spoon, not a whisk.
About the salt. Remember, Morton coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
 
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Cook. In a saucepan stir together the port, balsamic vinegar, cranberries, shallot or onion, and thyme. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 hour. Don't dry it out. This process cooks out most of the alcohol, but there may still be a little left, but nowhere near enough to get anyone tipsy.
  • Serve. Just before serving, stir in the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and the orange zest. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 308mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

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Published On: 8/12/2013 Last Modified: 4/16/2021

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


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