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Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce


No Cranberry Sauce with the turkey? A few years ago there was a cranberry shortage and word spread quickly. Within a few weeks, there were no packages available in the markets. Fortunately, this year, we’re in far better shape. This is a good thing as everyone knows we need cranberry sauce with turkey! They’re both native to the Americas, along with Maple Syrup, allspice and vanilla.

Growing up, only the canned variety graced our turkey dinners. My father wanted both the jellied and the regular cranberry sauce. I couldn’t understand what the big deal was — I didn’t like the looks of the jellied variety and the regular sauce didn’t taste as good as I thought it should. Then I had homemade cranberry sauce and I “got it.” Since that time I’ve experimented a lot, including adding raspberries one year.

Last year, however, chef David Lebovitz mentioned mulled wine cranberry sauce. I was intrigued by the concept. So this recipe is a spinoff on his. Instead of a dry red wine, I used Ruby Port, cut the sugar, switched out orange zest for lemon, and upped the ante slightly on spices and, of course, added vanilla. The addition of vanilla makes sense as it cuts some of the acidity of the cranberries, softening the tangy bite and enhancing the fruity flavors of this winter favorite. Taste the sauce once it starts to cook. If it’s too tart for your taste, add another 1/4 cup of sugar.

Here’s my spin. If it appeals to you, I know you’ll like it, but feel free to change it to suit your palate. David also suggested to serve some of the sauce with brie and good bread. He’s absolutely correct; it’s delicious!


Cranberry Sauce

  • Yield: Serves 6 - 8 1x



2/3 cup sugar

1 cup ruby port wine

1 12-ounce (1 bag) fresh cranberries

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

1/81/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon*

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 vanilla bean split open or 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Continue to cook, lowering the heat if it begins to spatter, until the cranberries start to pop, roughly 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Press the berries against the side of the pan to help break them down, and continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and cool.**

Can be served warm, or stored in the refrigerator until ready for use. If it is too thick, add a little more port wine or water and blend until incorporated.


*If you are using Vietnamese cinnamon use 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. If you are using true cinnamon (also known as canela) add closer to a half teaspoon.

**If using vanilla extract, add after removing the pan from the heat.

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