Wallflower at the Dance

Zinfandel Cranberry Sauce

Nov 12, 2012 by

Zinfandel Cranberry Sauce - CookingBride.com

Hi dear friends!

I want to start off by addressing a tiny piece of business.  If you are a fan of The Cooking Bride on Facebook (if you’re not, let’s be friends!) I have a teensy favor to ask.  Facebook made some recent changes (gasp! shocker!), and it turns out not all of you are seeing my updates in your newsfeed.

Trust me, I’ve noticed because it has been VERY QUIET over in Facebook Land lately (cue the crickets chirping).  So if you are interested in following me on Facebook, could you please follow these super simple directions below to add me back to your newsfeed?  I will be hosting a giveaway later on this month, and you don’t want to miss that, do you?  While you’re there, leave me a comment!  I love to hear from you people!!

  1. First of all, go to The Cooking Bride Facebook page.
  2. Hover your mouse over the ‘liked’ button on my page under the cover photo.
  3. Make sure the ‘Show in News Feed’ option is clicked.

Below is a nice little visual to help you out:


Alright, now that we’ve got that little bit of housecleaning out of the way, let’s get down to the real reason you’re here: cranberry sauce.

Okay, maybe cranberry sauce isn’t the real reason you’re here.  Because really, who goes out of their way for cranberry sauce?  It’s like the tuna noodle casserole of Thanksgiving dinner.  Or that weird distant relative that’s always invited to family get-togethers, but usually as an afterthought.  They’re included out of obligation, but not because you really like them.

Think about your Thanksgiving buffet.  There’s the guest of honor – the turkey in all its glossy brown, roasted glory – in the middle of the table.  The green bean casserole, the sweet potatoes, the corn casserole, or whatever sides you serve are strategically placed around it like enamored groupies.  And then there is the cranberry sauce, like the plain wallflower at the dance, shoved over in the back corner.  A condiment in tube form, still bearing the telltale rings of the can it was packaged in, usually not even given the dignity a piece of your nice China.  I always get a small serving of cranberry sauce.  Because it’s not that I don’t like it.  I think it’s fine.  But because I think it’s just “fine,” I usually don’t go out of my way to eat it again until next Thanksgiving rolls around.

I have actually wanted to try making my own cranberry sauce for a year now.  I figured homemade has to be better than what you can get from a can.  When I recently discovered for-real, actual, fresh cranberries in my local grocery store, I seized the moment.  I was drawn to this recipe because of the inclusion of rosemary and red zinfandel (there I go, being a boozer again).

As I was throwing everything in the pot, I was struck by how pretty all the different colors looked together.  As the cranberries simmered on the stove, I could hear them “pop, pop, popping” as the berries burst open and released their juices.


This is another example where I am glad I invested in a foodmill this past summer.  Once the berries cooled a little, I ran them through my mill.  First, using the medium blade to separate the skins from the juice.  And a second time using the fine blade for a more even texture.  I opted to pour the sauce into a pretty fluted jello mold, but you could forgo that and pour it directly into a serving dish.  If you do decide to mold – and then later unmold – your sauce, let me share a tip from one of my readers.  Spray the mold with a light mist of cooking spray beforehand.  The sauce slips right out with no problem and there is no weird, greasy taste.

I was right.  Homemade is much better than what you get from a can.  The sauce was juicy and fruity.  The alcohol from the wine burns off as you cook it on the stove, so there should be no issues with you getting any underage family members intoxicated.  I hope you’ll give this a try and develop a new appreciation for the most unappreciated condiment there is – cranberry sauce.


Zinfandel Cranberry Sauce - CookingBride.com


Zinfandel Cranberry Sauce

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Inspired by Cuisine at Home magazine
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 6
  • 2 bags (12 ounces each) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ½ cup red Zinfandel wine, or grape juice
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Zest from one medium orange
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil approximately 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool slight.
  2. If using a food mill, run mixture through the mill twice – first using the medium grade blade, then again using the fine grade blade. If not using a food mill, mash cooked berries with a potato masher, then run first through a large colander and then again through a fine mesh colander.
  3. Pour extracted juice into a serving dish or mold. Refrigerate overnight to set.

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