Cranberry sauce has become an obligatory part of any Thanksgiving dinner, and yet I've never been a huge fan. My family would always end up with a huge bowl of leftover cranberry sauce and then the only person who actually liked the stuff would have to eat the rest.
It's not so much that I dislike it... it's just... cranberry sauce. I've tried all the usual tricks like adding triple sec (which reminds me of cheap cocktails from my college years) or making a raw "relish" out of it. After thinking about it for a while I decided that the sauce had plenty of sweetness and tartness, but it lacked some of the other tastes (salt, bitter, spice). It also doesn't have much of a flavour on it's own (which is presumably why cranberry juice is usually mixed with other kinds of juice)
Since I was going for a West Asian Thanksgiving, I decided to hit it with some heat as well as a lot of cinnamon to give it more flavour. The resulting cranberry sauce was full of character and made a fitting accompaniment to the harissa roast turkey. After thinking about it more I think you could get similarly tasty results by steeping earl grey tea or cardamom in the water before adding the cranberries.
- Add the sugar, water, cinnamon and pepper to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the cranberries and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Pour the cranberry sauce into a bowl and allow it to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve it.