I’ve been making this cranberry sauce for over thirty years and it’s by far the best I’ve ever tasted. A couple of years ago I posted a similar recipe along with ways to use cranberry sauce leftovers, so you may remember that it’s a family favorite. The citrus gives it a very fresh flavor that distinguishes it from the canned stuff. Normally I use navel oranges, but this year I couldn’t resist the cute mesh bag filled with Florida tangerines that I saw in the market. Be sure to zest the tangerines before you squeeze them.
The cinnamon dust is a new idea. Using a microplane rasp style grater, grate a little “dust” from a whole cinnamon stick over the sauce. A big fat stick works best. The dust doesn't actually show on the sauce, but it gives it a little last minute oopmh of cinnamon flavor.
This cranberry sauce can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for several days, leaving plenty of time on turkey day to roast the big bird and put together your side dishes.
The smell coming from your kitchen will be very alluring as the cinnamon and citrus simmer on the stove with the wine and cranberries. Perhaps this cranberry sauce with its citrusy touch will become a family favorite for you too.
Homemade French Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine
A citrus twist on a classic
1 (12 ounce) package of fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw if they're frozen)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup dry red wine, such as a Merlot or Syrah
¾ cup to 1 ½ cups sugar, or to taste
2 tangerines or navel oranges
Put the cranberries in a sauce pan with the cinnamon stick, red wine, and sugar. Zest the tangerines and set aside half of the zest for a garnish. (If you are making the sauce in advance, wait until the last minute to zest the second tangerine, otherwise the zest will dry out.) Add the remaining zest and the juice of one of the tangerines (squeeze juice through a strainer to eliminate the seeds) to the cranberry mixture.
Stir the cranberry mixture well and bring to a boil. Partially cover the saucepan and simmer about 15 minutes, until the cranberries have burst. Remove from the heat, let cool, and discard the cinnamon stick. The sauce will firm up as it cools. It can be refrigerated, covered, for up to five days.
Before serving, using a microplane rasp style grater, grate a little cinnamon “dust” from a cinnamon stick over the cranberry sauce and garnish with the remaining citrus zest. This recipe serves 6 to 8 and is easily doubled or tripled. Serve the sauce at room temperature.