Portion/Yield:Makes 1 x 250g jar (serves 8–12)
Cooking this delicious cranberry, orange and port sauce is a wonderful smell experience. The whole house ends up infused with the warming scent of Christmas. For me it’s not really Christmas unless I make my own cranberry sauce. There is something so very gratifying and satisfying about making my own.
This recipe is simple and very easy to make, there are no tricks and it’s not even that time consuming either; it just needs a bit of love, care and attention. In my case it gives me good reason to buy a bottle of Port, crack open a box of cheese biscuits and get the Stilton out. I suppose for what it’s worth if this gets the Christmas spirit going then the cost of making your own is actually…lets say… priceless! I don’t think a shop-bought version will ever taste as good as a homemade one, so I’d urge you to make your own cranberry sauce. It makes a great Christmas pressie, make a large batch and jar it up for friends and family.
Ingredients & Method
- 225g fresh cranberries
- 1 finely diced onion
- 1 minced clove garlic
- 50g peeled and minced fresh root ginger
- 250g caster sugar
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 100ml port
- the finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 4 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan (choose a pan with a wide base, if you can). Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced to a thick consistency (the cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools), stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then pour the sauce into a hot, sterilised jar (see Cook’s Notes). Cover with a wax disc (wax-side down) and seal.
Once cold, label and store in a cool, dry cupboard. Store for at least a couple of days or so before using to allow the flavours to mingle and mature, but leave it for a couple of weeks before opening, if you can.
The unopened jar of sauce should keep well for up to 3 months. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 month.
Alternatively, the cranberry and port sauce can be made up to 3 days before serving it on Christmas day. Simply make it as directed, transfer to an airtight container and leave it to cool, then store in the fridge until needed. It can be served cold, or it can be gently warmed through in a saucepan before serving, if you like. Cranberry and port sauce is delicious added to cold turkey or goose sandwiches, served with plenty of watercress. Alternatively, stir a spoonful or two of cranberry and port sauce into a casserole (especially lamb or game) to enrich the flavour. It is also good served with oily fish, such as grilled mackerel or smoked trout or pan-fried rainbow trout.