HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What is your favorite non-citrus flavor companion to cranberries?

My mom makes a terrific baked cranberry sauce that has a wonderful texture and flavor except for the orange. I know I used Chinese five spice powder one time with results. What are your great additions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I saw a recipe on here yesterday that MMRuth makes with the addition of crystalized ginger. I thought it sounded wonderful and plan on making it for our Thanksgiving dinner this week.

    1. Through the addition of either one of some combination of the following, Judi: apple, cinnamon, pear, walnut, maple, cloves (cloves with a very light touch, though).

      1. I am making a Paul Prudhomme cranberry sauce that uses vanilla & you stir in sour cream at the end--sounds wierd but it's good. I also make one that uses dried cherries and port.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sparkareno

          sparkareno, any chance we could persuade you to post the instructions for the dried cherries and port sauce? One of my entrees at Christmas will be a ham, and I think they'd be wonderful together.

          Pretty please?

          1. re: Normandie

            I think it was from an old Bon Appetit---let me dig for it. It would be wonderful with ham.

            1. re: sparkareno

              TY. Don't make yourself crazy, but if you can find it, even after Thanksgiving when things are less busy, I'd appreciate it... With ham with cherries and port sauce as the centerpiece, I can see the rest of my Christmas Day menu falling right into place.

              1. re: Normandie

                Well so far, I can't find it but I will ask a friend when I see her for Thanksgiving--I think she knows which one it is.

                1. re: Normandie

                  Well maybe I was into the port when thinking of this recipe because I found it & there is no port in it. Maybe I was creative and added some at the end. Anyway, here it is:

                  1. re: sparkareno

                    That sounds *so* delicious, sparkareno...and, yes, I can see that Port could enhance it even further.

                    That was really nice of you to follow up, and I appreciate your taking your time to look for it. I'm going to order the ham soon, and I know my family will enjoy this with it.

                    Thanks again!

          2. I put ginger and sambal oelek in my cranberry sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. Definitely ginger! I have never used the crystallized.

              2 Replies
              1. re: daily_unadventures

                I like crystallized ginger better than powder or fresh with cranberries, because crystallized has the sweetness to contrast with the tartness of the berries, daily. Try it if you have the chance at some point. I put crystallized ginger into some of my savory braises, too--it's good with poultry and pork (but as a secondary player in the braises).

                It's also not difficult at all to make at home--essentially, fresh slices of ginger cooked in sugar and water that haven't reached the simple syrup stage yet (you want the texture of the sugar).

                1. re: daily_unadventures

                  Freshly grated ginger or the crystallized - but my Mom doesn't like the ginger version (I made a cranberry-pomegranate-ginger version a few years ago that I liked a lot; she was metza metz on it). So I made sure I made her some cranberry-orange relish this year.

                  1. I concur with others that minced crystallized ginger is a great addition to basic cranberry sauce. I have made many different cranberry sauces and chutneys over the years, and one I keep returning to has raspberry vinegar as part of the liquid. I usually use it in conjunction with some OJ, but it is also good made by just replacing some of the water with raspberry vinegar (like 1/3 cup for one bag of cranberries). Doesn't taste vinegar=y, just wonderful.

                    1. One of the interesting combos I've tried this year includes horseradish in the finished cranberry sauce. I enjoy it on grilled lamp chops.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ

                        Sounds interesting enuff to try- fresh or bottled horseradish? Do you prepare as usual and then add the h.r. at the end? I love a little unexpected kick!

                        1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                          Yes, the white horseradish, bottled version sold in the dairy case. I added a heaping tablespoon to 2.5 cups of cranberry sauce. Served room temp. Let me know how you like it!

                          1. re: HillJ

                            I made a good cranberry/kumquat/maple syrup preserve for Thanksgiving. I added a bit of horseradish to some that was left-over and it was REALLY GOOD! Thanks for the idea- something I would never have though of.

                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                              stuck in HC, tell me more about the use of kumquat, so interesting as well. How did you make your sauce using those three ingred.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                It's a recipe from one of my fave cookbooks- "Glorious American Food" by Christopher Idone. Cranberry and Kumquat Conserve:
                                20 medium kumquats, seeded & chopped
                                1 lb. fresh cranberries (aprox. 4 cups)
                                3/4 cup maple syrup

                                Combine all ingredients. When berries start to pop, remove from heat and cover. That's it.

                                I'm not crazy about maple syrup, so I reduced the amount to about 1/2 cup and added the juice of a couple of clementines and brown sugar. Happily, the clementines softened easily- something I was leery of. Amazingly good. Not to mention easy. Everybody loved it, including the kids. I'm going to add hazelnuts next time. Or Cointreau for the grownups.

                                1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                  Oh my, I'm not waiting until next year, this one's a keeper! How much horseradish to you wind up adding to your sauce? I tend to like sauce with that sweet heat but I'm usually making a small batch for myself and a milder one for company/family. Also, the use of hazelnuts or liquor is an interesting one. Diff approaches energize me.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    You could fill a whole recipe book w/cranberry "sauce" ideas! I change it up e/year, but this one was really easy and good, although Idone suggests it as a conserve for waffles and pancakes and such- probably why the original recipe is so "plain". I just added a bit of jarred horseradish to one serving, as per your suggestion. Definitely energizing. Although not as energizing as an ocean swim in ME. Thank god. Need more Cointreau for that.

                                    1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                      Too funny. A dip in the NJ ocean sounds good to me but my kids would just call me crazy (what's new). I froze a dozen or so bags of fresh whole cranberries so I'll be experimenting for a while. I'm playing with a chutney recipe right now that uses fresh grated ginger, pears, white wine and white pepper. Working on a savory cheesecake that uses the chutney. We'll see.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Idone has a "Mid-Atlantic" spiced peach recipe w/white wine, peppercorns, cinn. and cloves, sugar... Swap w/pears and adding zing w/ cranb. plus ginger sounds great. Maybe a tart rather than a cheesecake? Pear-flavored cheesecake w/chutney? Cheesecake w/pear/cranb. chutney... Interesting. Let us know how it works out.

                                        1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                          They all sound delicious to me. I'll post about a few experiments while I'm at it. My dh is a pilot and instructor. He hosts a few dozen graduations a year and I cater the events. So I'll have plenty of reasons to practice. Good exchanging w/you stuck in HC.

                        2. re: HillJ

                          horseradish is good with the cranberries, for sure. here is a cranberry "jezebel" sauce: http://kitchensherpa.wordpress.com/20...

                          i've made cran sauce with jalapeƱos and cumin.

                        3. I make cranberry relish with dried cherries, brown sugar and cardamom. very easy no cook recipe. different and yummy

                          1. BOURBON!

                            I made this recipe a few years ago and everyone loves it. Although we have a few jellied-in-the-can-shplock-it-on-a-plate fans, even they request the bourboned berries.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                              I second the bourbon! I made a batch yesterday using a recipe very close to the one that "Ima" linked (mine has less cinnamon and 3 T. bourbon), and it's great! I also made a more standard stovetop sauce with orange rind and fresh ginger. The baked bourbon sauce is the clear winner.

                            2. thyme. My other does a great cranberry port sauce with thyme.

                              1. walnuts, apples, honey. cranberries are also great just tossed in with the rest of a pan of roasted vegetables. i like them with beets. you can make a cranberry apple sauce with traditional old-fashioned baking spices (nutmeg, mace, cinnamon) that's good. i do add fresh orange to the same type of cranberry sauce and it's very good for the holidays.

                                1. Makers Mark bourbon and sweet vermouth.

                                  1. Yep, I'm in the bourbon camp, too! Sometimes with some cloves or allspice, but I generally like to keep it quite minimal...

                                    1. Champagne in a glass with just a couple of fresh cranberries floating in it. Great way to start the dinner!

                                      1. I follow the sauce recipe on the cranberry bag and add about 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract once pan comes off the heat. Hardly noticeable; just tastes a bit brighter.

                                        1. Soft dried apricots--

                                          really nice compliment to the cranberries. A recipe from 1990 Bon Apetit--I think--called for cranberries, ginger, apricots, brown sugar, dry mustard, orange zest, cinnamon, clove, cayenne. Very nice.

                                            1. Think Indian spices! I make a cranberry relish of raw chopped cranberries mixed with sauteed shallots, mild green chillies, black onion seeds (kalonji), black mustard seeds and a pinch of cumin seeds. Then I sweeten to taste with a little brown sugar. The black onion seeds and shallots pick up on the onion and celery notes of a simple bread stuffing.

                                              Looks like I'm not the only one either - here's a recipe for Cranberry Chutney with Paunch Phoron (cumin, fennel, mustard seeds, kalonji and fenugreek): http://www.pri.org/theworld/?q=node/2... Hmmm, fennel - I've got to try this recipe!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: plum

                                                plum, those are nice ideas. did you use the cumin whole or ground?

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  Whole cumin seeds, alkapal - I brown them in a little mustard oil. I got the idea from a fresh starfruit relish in "Mangoes and Curry Leaves" a few years ago - http://www.chow.com/recipes/11245.

                                                  1. re: plum

                                                    oooh, i'll bet the starfruit would be pretty with the cranberries, too! thank you for the ideas. i have never cooked with mustard oil. does it give a unique flavor? how is the smoke point?

                                                    ps, the link isn't working right now. i'm anxious to try again later....
                                                    and love your avatar -- very persian? pomegranates and peacocks! http://www.jerusalempottery.biz/produ... http://www.seeroonart.com/peacocks.html

                                              2. I usually make a sauce that is chutney like - cranberries, dried apple, raisins, ginger, garlic, some chile, other Indian spices.

                                                This year I kept it simpler - cranberries, diced pineapple, minced ginger, sugar. I tweaked the tartness with pomagranite molasses. It was well received.

                                                1. Horseradish. Make a horseradish Jezebel sauce with cranberries.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. My GF just made a cranberry sauce this year that used pomegranate and red wine, finished with fresh cilantro, which was just delicious.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bat Guano

                                                      That sounds really good Bat G. Did your GF puree the pomms or use the whole seed?

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        She used the whole seeds; added them at the same time as the cranberries, so they cooked and popped. Seeds are somewhat large and incongruous with the sauce, so it might be a good idea to strain them out, but it was still delicious. The recipe she sort-of followed called for pomegranate molasses, but we didn't have that, and did have a fresh pom, so that's what she used.

                                                        1. re: Bat Guano

                                                          Thank you for the add'l info on this. I enjoy a combo of puree and popped but textured seeds in my sauce so I wouldn't strain them out. You mention pom molasses which I have used in a variety of meat sauces and savory dips but never thought to use in cranberry sauce. Interesting.