Delia Cranberry Sauce: A Festive Twist on a Holiday Classic

Cranberry sauce, a staple at many holiday tables, is often a delightful accompaniment to festive meals. My journey in perfecting this recipe has been inspired by Delia Smith, a celebrated British cook known for her simple yet elegant culinary creations. This cranberry sauce is something special. It’s got all the usual zing of cranberries, but there’s more. The orange zest adds a bright citrus kick, and there’s a cozy warmth from the ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Oh, and the port wine? It brings a rich, deep note that really makes this sauce stand out.

How To Make Delia Smith’s Cranberry Sauce Recipe Overview

This Delia cranberry sauce is a harmonious blend of sweet and tart, enriched with the warming notes of orange, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and a hint of port wine. It’s not just a sauce; it’s a festive experience in a bowl. The process is straightforward and requires about 25 minutes of cooking time. This recipe yields approximately 8-10 servings, making it perfect for family gatherings or holiday dinners. One of the best things about this sauce is its make-ahead convenience; it freezes beautifully, allowing you to tick one more item off your holiday prep list in advance.

Ingredients

  • Cranberries (675 grams / 1.5 pounds): Cranberries are the show-stopper. They give the sauce a bright colour and the perfect amount of sourness and sweetness. Fresh or frozen, they work equally well, embodying the essence of holiday flavors.
  • Orange (1 large): Utilize both the zest and juice. The zest adds a bright, citrusy aroma, while the juice lends a natural sweetness and tang, complementing the cranberries beautifully.
  • Fresh Ginger (1.5 heaped teaspoons, grated) or Ground Ginger (3/4 teaspoon): Fresh ginger gives food a sour and spicy kick, while ground ginger gives food a milder, warmer spice. Both versions contribute a unique depth to the sauce.
  • Light Muscovado Sugar (112 grams / 4 ounces): This sugar, with its rich molasses flavor, adds a depth and complexity to the sweetness. Its caramel-like undertones enhance the overall richness of the sauce.
  • Cinnamon Stick (Medium piece, about 6 centimeters / 2.5 inches): Cinnamon introduces a warm, woody spice, infusing the sauce with a comforting aroma and flavor that’s synonymous with festive cooking.
  • Whole Cloves (6 pieces): Cloves offer a potent, aromatic spice that complements the cranberries and orange, adding a hint of exotic, intense flavor that’s crucial for the overall profile of the sauce.
  • Port Wine (3 to 4 tablespoons): The inclusion of port wine elevates the sauce, introducing a luxurious, fruity depth. This ingredient is key to adding a sophisticated twist to the traditional cranberry sauce.

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Cranberries: If using fresh cranberries, rinse them under cold water and discard any soft or brown ones. If frozen, there’s no need to thaw them.
  2. Zest and Juice the Orange: Wash the orange thoroughly. Zest it first, ensuring you only get the orange part of the peel, not the bitter white pith. Then, juice the orange.
  3. Grate the Ginger: If using fresh ginger, peel and grate it finely. If using ground ginger, have it measured and ready.
  4. Cooking the Sauce: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange zest, and orange juice.
  5. Add the grated (or ground) ginger, muscovado sugar, the cinnamon stick, and the whole cloves.
  6. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  7. Simmer: Reduce the heat and simmer gently. The cranberries will start to pop open – this is expected. Keep the mixture simmering for about 10-15 minutes or until the cranberries have softened and the sauce has thickened. Remember to stir occasionally.
  8. Add Port Wine: After the cranberries have cooked and the sauce has thickened, add the port wine. Stir well and let it simmer for another couple of minutes.
  9. Remove from Heat: Take the saucepan off the heat. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves (you might want to count them in and out to ensure none are left in the sauce).
  10. Cool and Serve: Let the sauce cool to room temperature. It will thicken further as it cools. Transfer it to a serving bowl or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

What To Serve With Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is incredibly versatile and pairs wonderfully with a variety of dishes. Here are some classic and creative ideas for what to serve with your homemade cranberry sauce:

Roast Turkey or Chicken: The most classic pairing! The tart and sweet flavors of the cranberry sauce complement the savory taste of poultry beautifully.

Pork Dishes: Whether it’s a pork loin, chops, or roast, cranberry sauce adds a delightful contrast to the rich flavors of pork.

Cheese Platters: Serve it alongside a selection of cheeses, especially Brie or Camembert, for a gourmet appetizer.

Sandwiches and Wraps: Add a spoonful to turkey sandwiches or wraps for a burst of flavor.

Baked Brie or Camembert: Smear a generous amount of cranberry sauce over a wheel of Brie or Camembert before baking. The tartness of the cranberry perfectly complements the creamy, gooey cheese, creating a sophisticated and indulgent appetizer.

Grilled Salmon or Other Fish: Brush cranberry sauce over grilled salmon or your favorite fish. The sauce makes a sweet and sour glaze that brings out the natural flavours of the fish. This makes for a deliciously unique seafood dish.

Pancakes or Waffles: Swap out the regular syrup for cranberry sauce when serving pancakes or waffles. Its rich, fruity flavor adds a lovely twist to your breakfast, balancing the sweetness with its natural tartness.

Grilled Cheese: Elevate a simple grilled cheese sandwich by adding a layer of cranberry sauce.

Glazes and Marinades: Use it as a base for glazes or marinades for meats and tofu.

Yogurt or Oatmeal: For a breakfast twist, mix it into yogurt or oatmeal.

Desserts: Spoon over cheesecake or vanilla ice cream, or use as a filling for pastries.

Salad Dressings: Whisk into vinaigrettes for a unique and tangy salad dressing.

Remember, the tart and sweet nature of cranberry sauce can cut through richness and add complexity to both sweet and savory dishes.

Also Read: Pork Casserole Delia Recipe

Recipe Tips for Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Fresh vs. Frozen Cranberries: Both work great, so use what’s available. Fresh cranberries are slightly more tart, while frozen can be a tad sweeter.

Orange Zest and Juice: Don’t skimp on the orange! The zest adds a fresh, citrusy burst, and the juice brings balance to the tartness of the cranberries. For an extra zing, try using a bit more zest.

Sugar Adjustment: Start with less sugar than you think. You can always add more if you find the sauce too tart, but it’s hard to fix if it’s too sweet.

Spice to Your Taste: If you love the warmth of spices, feel free to add a little extra cinnamon or ginger. It’s all about hitting that perfect note for your palate.

Cooking Time: Keep an eye on your sauce as it simmers. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will get. Stop cooking when it’s still a bit runnier than you want – it thickens as it cools.

Texture Variations: For a smoother sauce, mash the cranberries while they cook. If you like it chunky, leave them as is.

Storage is Key: Store in an airtight container to keep it fresh. In the fridge, it lasts up to 10 days; in the freezer, about 2 months.

Thawing Frozen Sauce: Always thaw in the fridge, not at room temperature. This keeps the texture and flavor intact.

Serving Warm or Cold: Cranberry sauce is great both ways. Warm it up if you want a more liquid consistency or serve it cold for a thicker texture.

Get Creative: Don’t be afraid to add your own twist! Some people love adding chopped nuts, a splash of different liquors, or even mixing in other fruits for a unique take.

Nutritional Value (per serving)

Calories: Approximately 90-100 kcal

Carbohydrates: 23g

Fiber: 3g

Sugar: 17g

Sodium: 2mg

Vitamin C: 10% of RDA

Iron: 2% of RDA

FAQs

Can I use ground spices instead of whole?

Absolutely, you can use ground spices instead of whole ones in your cranberry sauce. If you don’t have whole cloves or a cinnamon stick, just swap them for their ground counterparts. A pinch of ground cloves and a dash of ground cinnamon will do the trick. Remember, ground spices are more concentrated, so use them sparingly. This way, you’ll still get all those lovely, warm flavors without any hassle.

How long can I store this cranberry sauce?

This cranberry sauce keeps really well. In the fridge, it’ll stay good for up to 10 days. Just make sure it’s in a tight container. If you need it for longer, you’re in luck! Freeze it and it’ll last about 2 months. When you’re ready to use it, just thaw it in the fridge. This way, you can enjoy your homemade sauce whenever you like, without any rush. Perfect for planning ahead or saving leftovers!

Can I replace muscovado sugar with regular white sugar?

Sure, you can use regular white sugar instead of muscovado sugar. Muscovado adds a rich, caramel-like taste, but white sugar works fine too. It’ll make your cranberry sauce a bit lighter in flavor, but still sweet and delicious. Just use the same amount as you would with muscovado. This swap is great if you’ve got white sugar already in your pantry or if you prefer a simpler taste. Either way, your sauce will turn out tasty!

Is it necessary to use port wine?

No, it’s not necessary to use port wine in your cranberry sauce. It adds a nice depth and richness, but you can totally skip it. If you want, replace it with extra orange juice or even water. This keeps the sauce non-alcoholic and still tasty. The orange juice also adds a bit more citrus flavor, which is always nice. So, feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your taste or what you have on hand!

Can I make this sauce less sweet?

Yes, you can definitely make the sauce less sweet. Just reduce the amount of sugar you add. Start with a little and taste as you go. Cranberries are naturally tart, so you’ll find the right balance for your taste. Remember, you can always add more sugar, but you can’t take it out once it’s in. Adjusting the sweetness to your liking is the beauty of homemade sauce. It’s all about making it perfect for you and your guests.

Conclusion

This Delia-inspired cranberry sauce is a beautiful addition to any festive table. Its rich color and deep flavors of orange, ginger, and spices, laced with the sweetness of muscovado sugar and the elegance of port, make it a memorable condiment. Whether you’re hosting a grand feast or a cozy family dinner, this sauce will definitely elevate your meal. Enjoy the cooking process and the delightful flavors!

Delia Smith Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Delia Smith Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine British
Servings 10 servings
Calories 100 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Cranberries 675 grams / 1.5 pounds: Cranberries are the show-stopper. They give the sauce a bright colour and the perfect amount of sourness and sweetness. Fresh or frozen, they work equally well, embodying the essence of holiday flavors.
  • Orange 1 large: Utilize both the zest and juice. The zest adds a bright, citrusy aroma, while the juice lends a natural sweetness and tang, complementing the cranberries beautifully.
  • Fresh Ginger 1.5 heaped teaspoons, grated or Ground Ginger (3/4 teaspoon): Fresh ginger gives food a sour and spicy kick, while ground ginger gives food a milder, warmer spice. Both versions contribute a unique depth to the sauce.
  • Light Muscovado Sugar 112 grams / 4 ounces: This sugar, with its rich molasses flavor, adds a depth and complexity to the sweetness. Its caramel-like undertones enhance the overall richness of the sauce.
  • Cinnamon Stick Medium piece, about 6 centimeters / 2.5 inches: Cinnamon introduces a warm, woody spice, infusing the sauce with a comforting aroma and flavor that’s synonymous with festive cooking.
  • Whole Cloves 6 pieces: Cloves offer a potent, aromatic spice that complements the cranberries and orange, adding a hint of exotic, intense flavor that’s crucial for the overall profile of the sauce.
  • Port Wine 3 to 4 tablespoons: The inclusion of port wine elevates the sauce, introducing a luxurious, fruity depth. This ingredient is key to adding a sophisticated twist to the traditional cranberry sauce.

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the Cranberries: If using fresh cranberries, rinse them under cold water and discard any soft or brown ones. If frozen, there’s no need to thaw them.
  • Zest and Juice the Orange: Wash the orange thoroughly. Zest it first, ensuring you only get the orange part of the peel, not the bitter white pith. Then, juice the orange.
  • Grate the Ginger: If using fresh ginger, peel and grate it finely. If using ground ginger, have it measured and ready.
  • Cooking the Sauce: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange zest, and orange juice.
  • Add the grated (or ground) ginger, muscovado sugar, the cinnamon stick, and the whole cloves.
  • Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Simmer: Reduce the heat and simmer gently. The cranberries will start to pop open – this is expected. Keep the mixture simmering for about 10-15 minutes or until the cranberries have softened and the sauce has thickened. Remember to stir occasionally.
  • Add Port Wine: After the cranberries have cooked and the sauce has thickened, add the port wine. Stir well and let it simmer for another couple of minutes.
  • Remove from Heat: Take the saucepan off the heat. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves (you might want to count them in and out to ensure none are left in the sauce).
  • Cool and Serve: Let the sauce cool to room temperature. It will thicken further as it cools. Transfer it to a serving bowl or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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