Saturday, 30 December 2017

Cranberry sauce with Chianti and Aperol

cranberry sauce for Christmas

Our kitchen smells wonderfully festive - of cinnamon, cloves and  orange zest - as the cranberry sauce is cooling in a jar for tomorrow's dinner. We have invited friends over to celebrate the new year's eve with us.

In Italy we had a traditional local Christmas meal, with a pasta dish for starter, and the main which included lentils as one of the side dishes for good luck... It was a lovely meal, but later in the evening as I was looking at the photos of Christmas meals posted on Instagram, I was moaning to myself (an ungrateful creature that I am) that I wanted all those delicious roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, red cabbage and even brussels sprouts. I didn't miss a Christmas pudding or cake, I think the Italian cakes are superior.
We brought Christmas crackers with us though, as Eddie loves paper crowns and silly jokes.

So, tomorrow I am cooking the whole caboodle, with a turkey crown, a ham in marmalade, roast potatoes, carrots with parsnips, brussels sprouts with chestnuts, pigs in blankets, stuffing etc. Our guests will bring the dessert.
I don't know if Italians eat cranberry sauce. In over 20 years of visiting Italy, I have never come across any cranberry sauce there. Typically we have a mostarda di frutta with a roast or cold meats, which is a beautiful condiment of jewel-like preserved fruit in mustard. It looks gorgeous but has an acquired taste. I can only ever manage a little bit, as it is pretty hot.

I love cranberry sauce, it is fab to jazz up a cheese sandwich, or cold meat cuts.

I have tried cooking it with different types of alcohol - port, white wine and red wine (see my old post for cranberry sauce with white wine). This time I fancied trying a little bit different, and used both Chianti and Aperol.

best cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce with Chianti and Aperol
300g fresh cranberries
juice (100ml) and zest of 1 large orange
a 1/3tsp ground cloves
a cinnamon stick
50ml Chianti
50ml Aperol

Place the cranberries in a pan with red wine wine, caster sugar, orange juice and zest, ground cloves (on a tip of a knife) and a cinnamon stick, bring to the boil. Lower the heat, add Aperol. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, remove from the heat and spoon in a sterilised Kilner jar. Once cooled, put the jar in the fridge.
This sauce will keep in the fridge for a week.

If you don't have Chianti or Aperol, use port, or white wine. I think sloe gin might be a lovely alternative too.

best cranberry sauce

There is a big variety of ready-made cranberry preserves of all kinds on the run to Christmas, but making your own cranberry sauce is easy-peasy and the aroma wafting from the kitchen is delightful.
If you make your own cranberry sauce, do you add any alcohol (and which one)?

best cranberry sauce, festive spices, Christmas menu


  1. I know exactly what you mean - we were in France, with huge platters of seafood, lobster, foie gras, guinea fowl, yule logs and goodness knows what else, but I always miss the traditional British Christmas lunch. The cranberry sauce looks delicious - I've never tried making my own (not sure you can buy cranberries here, although they do now stock cranberry sauce in big supermarkets).

    1. I imagine all Scandi countries and many Eastern European love cranberries as much as Anglo-Saxons, but perhaps it is less known down south. Do they sell frozen cranberries in France? you can easily make your own sauce with frozen cranberries too. Happy new year, Cheryl!