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.
12 oz bag of cranberries washed and picked through for stems
1 C sugar
1 C water
2 cinnamon sticks (try using Vietnamese cinnamon if you can get your hands on some)
1 tsp grated cinnamon
1 hot pepper
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.