grown-up cranberry sauce

It’s kind of sad that I don’t get a full-fledged Thanksgiving this year. I know that every day is a feast with the comparative abundance I enjoy on a daily basis. When you’re living with a foot in two countries whose fall holidays don’t match up, though, planning a proper feast can slip easily by the wayside.

cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce

This year, our last-minute host in Ottawa delivered some fine impromptu stuffing and sweet potatoes. Days later, my visiting chef (mom) whipped up a pumpkin pie to help us refuel after our marathon. This Thursday, on the American holiday, we’ll likely share a smorgasbord of non-traditional dishes with other left-behind friends.

And so for this most humble of Thanksgiving posts, I had to reach way back into my photo archives for last year’s grown-up cranberry sauce, which I discovered on one of the first food blogs I started reading regularly. I have only one thing to say about this sauce: we’re still talking about it a year later.

rosemary fig cranberry sauce

I know what you’re thinking–why mess with perfection? But trust me on this one. It’s not so far off from the original, really. And after 20+ years of eating plain old cranberries n’ sugar, don’t you think it’s time for a change? I mean, let’s face it, life is too short for the same old. And If you hate it, I promise you someone will be happy to take it off your hands. (Express post to our place works as well.)

There’s something about an old favorite with a twist, like a reminder that old things too can be made new. What could be better accessories to tart, sweet cranberry sauce spiked with ruby red port, piney rosemary, and melt-in-your mouth figs.

port cranberry sauce

My deepest apologies go out to turkey: there are some sauces that are just too good for you. This one deserves to be eaten by the spoonful. Or at least spread on crackers with a nickel of goat cheese.

cranberry port fig rosemary sauce

But don’t despair, dearest bird. For you there’s always the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag.

Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs

makes about 3 ½ cups


1 and 2/3 cups ruby port (don’t use the one pictured, it was a failed experiment! snout around for another affordable one)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
8 dried black Mission figs, stemmed and chopped
1 6-inch-long sprig fresh rosemary
¼ tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
¾ cup white sugar


  1. Combine first 6 ingredients (port through pepper) in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Discard rosemary.
  2. Mix in cranberries and white sugar. Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool.
  3. Transfer sauce to bowl; chill until cold. Keeps for one week refrigerated.

originally from Gourmet

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