Traditional Cranberry Sauce is so simple to make yet most of the time it just tastes of a sweet/tart sauce that leaves no memories. On the other hand, if you add loads of spices it kills the cranberry taste, so there is just so much you can put in! Last year I saw a jar of Burgundy Cranberry Sauce in a really nice grocery store in London and I wondered if I could make it myself. I tried several versions until I got to this one which is our favourite at home. I use it both in savoury dishes, a good matured cheese and also with desserts like chocolate molten cake, cheesecakes and ice-creams. One thing I have to say is, if the wine isn't good, you won't get a good sauce. So invest in a good Pinot Noir bottle (I realy like the California 2005 DEWN Pinot Noir) forget about the price and think what a dream to open a jar of Pinot Noir Cranberry sauce any time of the year. —Maria Teresa Jorge
4 to 5 glass jars of 5 ounces
fresh cranberries (6 cups) sort through, rinsed in cold water and drained (it was 2 12 ounce packs picked through)
very good Pinot Noir (basically it's a whole botlle)
freshly made grape juice from white or red fresh sweet grapes
Sort through 2 packets of 12 ounces of fresh cranberries and pick out any that are not good or unripe. You'll end with more or less 22.2 ounces. Wash the berries under cold running water and put in a colander to drain well.
Make the grape juice: take the grapes off the stem, choose only the good and ripe ones, wash them very well to get rid of all the chemicals on the skin. Put them in a colander, let them drain. Put the whole grapes in a blender and blend about 2 or 3 minutes until you have a juice. Strain the juice immediately through a fine sieve, pressing down to gather all the juice.
In a non reactive pan add the cranberries, sugar, crushed juniper berries (they give a piney, resinous and lemony flavour), the Pinot Noir and grape juice. Start over high heat to get to boiling point as quickly as possible (grape juice oxidizes very quickly) and stir to dissolve well the sugar. When it reaches boiling point reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally - the berries will gradually start popping open and releasing their juice. The sauce will start to thicken due to the high content of pectin from the cranberries.
After 15 minutes put a spoonfull of sauce in a cold plate, let cool and drag your finger across the middle. If it leaves a clean path it's ready. At this point you will have a lot of cranberry skins in your sauce. I prefer less skins so I divide the sauce and sieve 2/3 of it and leave the rest with skins.
Making the fresh ginger juice: Peel a 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, trim the dry ends and grate it finely into a bowl. Take the contents in your hand and squeeze out all the juice, discarding all the fibrous part. Set aside until you need it.
Put a medium mesh sieve over a bowl, pour 2/3 of the cranberry sauce in 2 goes, pressing with the back of a small ladle to get all the juices out. Don't forget to scrape the bottom of the sieve, it will have lots of sauce attached to it.
Pour back the sieved sauce in the pan with the 1/3 of whole fruit sauce, bring back to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the fresh ginger juice, stir well to dissolve. You can fill jam jars with the very hot sauce, closing them immediately with a good lid or let the sauce cool down and put it in a container in the fridge.
Serve with turkey on Thanksgiving Day or with roast pork, chicken, partridge or pheasant, and keep some in your pantry to serve with chocolate cake, cheesecake or whatever you fancy.