Initially what I thought to be an unusual partnership has quickly transformed into a perfect marriage. Cranberries paired with Cabernet Sauvignon – delicious – and most definitely my new thing!
I have to thank Google for this discovery… or… maybe it is my curious appetite for always wanting to tweak things and take them to the next level. Bottom line, I simply wanted to mix it up a little this Thanksgiving and put an unexpected twist on the cranberry sauce that I plan to serve.
As uncomplicated as it is to make, and with the ingredients sparse, it might be difficult to believe that my recipe has evolved over the years. Trust me… it has. Until now, it has consisted of the following… 12 oz. bag of cranberries. 1 cup sugar. 1 cup orange juice. Boil until berries pop. Chill overnight and serve. Simple, eh?
But now, thanks to chowhound.com and an online user named “Candy”, her cranberry sauce recipe is now mine. Disclaimer here: if “Candy” ever stumbles upon this blog – in an effort to be honest and fair, I promise to always reference you when I serve this side dish – that is until I tweak your recipe and truly make it mine! Haha – I’m just saying!
Hmmmmm, out of all of the recipes that I found, I bet you can’t even fathom what made this one stick? Ok… maybe you can. It was the wine! The W-I-N-E! Hey… blame it on a weak spot, an enjoyment, a fondness… better yet, an appreciation. It just tastes good. Soooo, what better way to elevate a dish that I already relish? Yes sir! You guessed it — add wine!!!
I am sure that if I continued my search, I would have turned up a plethora of recipes which included wine – but something about this one was appealing, especially since it stipulated the use of one of my favorite reds – Cabernet Sauvignon. With various notes of plum, cherry, blackberry and blueberry, I find the spicy rich flavor of cabs attractive. I generally prefer the full-bodied cabs – the taste seems to linger on my tongue longer… which for me, heightens my enjoyment. Nonetheless – I was intrigued and gave the recipe a spin!
Paying homage to “Candy” her recipe is as follows: 12 oz. bag of cranberries. 1 cup sugar. 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon. 2 tsp. of tangerine zest (ummm, can I say how difficult it was to retrieve this zest – obviously I am not a great “zester”) 1 cinnamon stick. Bring to boil. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. Serve warm or cold (as I type, mine is chilling in the refrigerator so that the flavors set for tomorrow’s consumption). Again… easy, eh?
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and in true fashion, we all tend to pace our menu and prepare dishes early as to ease the process.
Tonight I made the sauce — all I can say is DAMN!
The most noticeable difference was the aroma. The scent of the cab heating up, combining with the tangerine zest and the cinnamon was intoxicating. At some points, it was so aromatic that I pulled away from the pot to offer my senses a break – how could something so simple smell so divine?! The intense color of the sauce was equally as brilliant – a deep burgundy… much more vibrant in color that sauces made in previous years. But the pièce de résistance was the taste! Mind you… I only tasted the spoon – what a difference! There was this zing… literally! The tartness of the cranberries is more noticeable while the sweetness is subtle… it is absolutely fantastic! Need I say how much I am looking forward to tomorrow’s dinner… for me, it is definitely going to be all about the sauce!
The beautiful part about the recipe is that you can continually alter the cab that you select… this year hats off to Chalone Vineyard 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – it is dynamite – 1 cup in the sauce and the rest… well, let’s just say that the bottle is empty!
Check it out at: chalonevineyard.com.
Wishing you all a sensational Thanksgiving filled with friends, family and laughter.