Cranberry sauce is an essential part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. We don’t judge if you opt for the tubular, canned jelly variety: Nostalgia is important. But there’s another option if you want to shake things up. This savory version is for those who want a little bit more balance, a little less sugar and a lot more flavor from the quintessential side.
Although it may seem like there’s a lot of ingredients here, the sauce itself is quite simple. You add all of the toasted spices and herbs to your liquid, steep, then strain, and are rewarded with the ultimate cooking liquid that’s not only perfect for cranberries, but also other seasonal ingredients, such as lingonberries and chestnuts.
One tip: When toasting dried spices, it’s important to never go above medium heat. You want to warm the spices and release the oils but stop short before burning them, which can make them bitter. Another option to enhance the flavor is to bruise your herbs before adding them to the stock. We suggest bundling them up and beating them with the back of a knife.
Savory Cranberry Sauce
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole juniper berries
4 whole cloves
3 green cardamom pods, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
4 thyme sprigs, bruised
2 sage sprigs, bruised
2 rosemary sprigs, bruised
3 cups (11 ounces) cranberries
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. In a small sauté pan, toast the allspice, peppercorns, coriander, juniper, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, orange peels and cinnamon stick over medium heat until lightly toasted and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, cranberry juice, thyme, sage, rosemary and toasted spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Strain the cooking liquid and add it back to the pot. Add in the cranberries, brown sugar, and salt, and simmer for 25 minutes over medium heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.