I have a soft spot for jellied cranberry sauce as a Thanksgiving side dish, as that was a favorite of mine when I was a kid, but these days I am much more likely to make my own cranberry sauce with fresh berries to serve as a holiday side (and that includes Homemade Cranberry Jelly). I like cranberry sauces that the sweet-tart flavor of the cranberries shine through without being overly tart or sour, which can make the cranberry sauce overpower things like turkey and stuffing. This Blood Orange Cranberry Sauce fits the bill nicely. The sauce is made with whole cranberries, freshly squeezed blood orange juice and has whole piece of blood orange in it. The orange adds some extra sweetness to the cranberries while adding a bright, fresh citrus flavor to the sauce.
To make it, you’ll need a bag of fresh or frozen cranberries. Frozen berries will always work well for a sauce, but I typically use fresh berries when my local markets carry them. The berries are cooked with blood orange juice and whole blood orange segments from a supremeed orange. Supreming an orange means that you cut down a whole orange into its most tender segments, removing the peel, pith and the tough “skin” that holds the slices together (tutorial here). By prepping the oranges this way, you get very tender pieces of fruit to add to your sauce.
Blood oranges make a good color match for the cranberries and the juice is slightly sweeter than that of some other types of oranges. That said, you can easily substitute any other type of orange into this recipe if you don’t have blood oranges and still get tasty results.
Blood Orange Cranberry Sauce
4 blood oranges
12-oz whole fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest (from above oranges)
1 cup sugar
Zest the blood oranges to obtain 1 tbsp orange zest. Set aside.
Supreme your oranges (using this method), removing the outer peel of the fruit and the membranes between the orange slices. Set orange segments aside.
In a medium sauce pan, combine cranberries and water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes, until the berries begin to pop. Add in blood orange juice, orange zest, oranges slices and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and mixture thickens, approx 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Transfer sauce to a refrigerator-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.