For years and years, I searched for the perfect cranberry sauce. I tried adding allspice, cloves, Zinfandel, and orange zest. I tried simmering, boiling, and marinating the cranberries. And then a couple years ago, I stumbled upon the ultimate cranberry sauce, courtesy of Epicurious.
The secret is bourbon, but don't let that scare you off. I make things like bourbon balls for the holidays because I have some bourbon lovers in the family, but I personally can't really handle the spirit. In cranberry sauce, though, it's magical--it adds just enough punch to play off the tartness of the cranberries, and it brings out all of the fruit's complexity. Somehow, it also adds a hint of an orange flavor, and it tones down the mouth-puckering sweetness of the sauce.
And the best part may be the fact that you don't have to watch a pot on the stove--you just throw 3 ingredients together in a baking dish and throw the whole thing in the oven for an hour; it's almost ridiculously simple and easy. And! for some reason, the baking dish even comes clean really easily. So if you want a complex, interesting cranberry sauce instead of the usual cloying culprits, you need to try this sauce for your next holiday get together.
(Slightly adapted from Epicurious)
- 1 pound (about 4 cups) cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup bourbon