I hereby confirm the reader’s
suggestion that one substitute port for water in making homemade cranberry
sauce. I made our sauce last night, just to get it out of the way before the
real cooking begins tonight, and tried port instead of water. Good gracious!
It makes for a much richer flavor. I wouldn’t dream of folding in mandarin
oranges, but if you’re using a cup of sugar and a cup of port, you really do
need something to cut the sweetness. Try a pinch of salt, and zest from two
lemons, put in as the sauce bubbles on the stove. If you don’t have a
zester, just wash a couple of lemons and grate them over the pot of
simmering sauce. Take care just to get the yellow rind, and not the white
I brought a small jar of my homemade cranberry sauce to a colleague this
morning. He’d told me yesterday that he’s a hapless cook, and his wife won’t
let him near the kitchen. His contribution to the family meal is to go to
the store to buy the pies. I told him that homemade cranberry sauce is the
easiest thing in the world to make, and because people are used to eating
that glop from the can, they’re always pleasantly surprised at how much
better the homemade stuff is. The entire process takes about 10 minutes.
N.B., if you’re like me, and prefer your cranberry sauce more on the tart
side, I’d say you could substitute red wine for port.