This Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementines is a very grown up version of your usual Cranberry Sauce. It’s made by caramelising the sugar first, giving it depth of flavour. Even richer by adding port, taking it into Christmas territory via cinnamon and clementines, all working together wonderfully. You can use it as sauce or, if cooked longer, jam.
Why You Want to Make This
Everyone needs a good Cranberry sauce recipe. Especially if you, like me, are utterly tempted by the lovely bright ruby berries appearing on the supermarket shelves around this time of the year.
So why would you choose this one, considering you have to *gasp* caramelise sugar for it? (I promise, it’s easy)
Depth of Flavour
Have I made the very simple Cranberry sauces and jams that just require you to boil the cranberries with some sugar and be done? Of course I have. Were they good? Absolutely.
So why go through this extra step? Because caramel flavour just adds a whole new dimension to your sauce. The deeply dark, even slightly burnt, caramel flavour elevates this to a dish worthy for a Christmas Table. Either in form of Sauce or, if you prefer, as I do, as jam on your breakfast table.
It doesn’t add much extra work either. Just a little patience and occasional swirling of your pot, until you achieve that deep amber colour we are aiming for.
Friends told me that for them, Port is the epitome of a Christmas drink. For me, being German, it always was Mulled Wine. So I basically combined the two here by using spices found in mulled wine and adding Port to the Cranberries while cooking, so the alcohol evaporates. It leaves behind its deep, sweet, and fruity notes, adding richness to the slightly astringent cranberries.
As mentioned above, you can use this as Sauce by cooking shorter and adding some salt and pepper or Jam, by cooking longer. But have you ever tried adding it to butter, making essentially a cranberry compound butter, to spread under chicken skin. This is what I used for my Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken.
Cranberries, of course. You can use fresh or frozen here. I used 1 pack of fresh ones as I found them in the supermarket in Ireland.
Sugar, which will be caramelised first. Caster sugar, being finer, will melt a tiny bit faster, but I used standard white sugar, and it worked just fine.
2 cinnamon sticks – You could also use ground cinnamon. About 1 tsp should be enough.
Allspice – This, together with the cinnamon and the clementine zest, gives this sauce it’s very Christmas-like flavour.
A pinch of salt – Don’t skip this. It might seem like a tiny addition, but it lifts all the other flavours.
Clementines – Instead of the more classic oranges, I’m using clementines for their sweeter flavour. Both zest and fileted flesh.
Port – Use whatever port you’d also like to drink. Not only because there will be plenty left over in the bottle, but also because the flavour of it will shine through very clearly.
If you’d rather not include alcohol, you could use grape juice instead.
Variations: Try adding a different alcohol. Red wine, for a less sweet flavour or maybe some Amaretto for almond flavour. In Germany it’s sometimes added to mulled wine and it’s delicious.
Especially if using it as sauce, some Rosemary or Thyme would be lovely here.
Orange instead of clementine will do just fine and be a little less sweet.
For the clementines I specified zest and filets. I grated the zest, then, with a sharp knife, sliced off the top and bottom peel, so I could see the flesh. Then, following the curve of the fruit, I sliced off the skin, to expose the separate segments, taking off the bitter pith. By cutting with a small knife along the dividing skin between the segments, I cut out the little filets.
If you feel that’s just way too much work, feel free to just squeeze out the juice after zesting.
In a heavy based pot, for even heat distribution, add the sugar. Without stirring, but the occasional swirl, let it slowly melt and caramelise. It should turn a deep Amber, but not burn. Use your nose to determine when it reaches caramelisation. A stainless steel pot can help too, as you see the colour. Mine is dark and antistick, but the caramel scent worked perfectly, telling me when it was enough.
Once the caramel has reached the desired colour, add the remaining ingredients, and stir, so everything is coated with the caramel.
Let the Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementines simmer for 10-20 minutes, depending on your desired consistency. I wanted a relatively firm and concentrated Jam I could spread on bread, so mine was cooked close to 20min.
With a spoon, fish out the cinnamon sticks and discard.
Serve you Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementines either warm, as sauce or fill into a very clean jar and keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, if used as Jam. This is lovely either with cold meats (Try Roast Beef with crispy potatoes!) or spread on bread or used in a compound butter for all sorts of recipes.
The Sauce can be made up to a week ahead and will keep fine in the fridge. Just gently warm it through before serving and maybe stir in a little water if needed, as it tends to firm up when cooling.
As Jam, this is absolutely delicious on my Sourdough Pumpkin Soda Bread, which would be lovely as Christmas breakfast.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.
Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementines
- ¾ cup + 1 tbsp 180g white sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½ tsp allspice
- 3 cups 300g fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3 Clementines zested and filleted
- 1 pinch of salt
- Pepper to taste if using as sauce
- ¼ cup 60ml ruby port
- Put a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and allow the sugar to melt (without stirring) and turn a rich caramel colour before adding the cranberries, clementine filets and zest, spices and port.
- Stir to coat everything in the caramel. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-20 minutes until the cranberries break down and thicken.
- If you’d like to use this as sauce, season while cooking with salt and pepper and cook a bit shorter, to achieve a more sauce like consistency. For Jam, cook longer, until very thick.
- Take out the cinnamon sticks and discard.
- Pour into a very clean Jar and store in the fridge. The Sauce will keep about 1 week in the fridge.
Protein: Approximately 0.3 grams
Carbohydrates: Approximately 27 grams
Fat: Approximately 0.1 grams
Fiber: Approximately 3 grams