Cranberries have a distinct sweet-tart flavor that is what people love about them. Cranberries are often paired with flavors – such as oranges or lemons – that highlight the tartness of the berries and brings it out more. This is definitely a classic approach, but sometimes I want to highlight the sweetness of my cranberries and play down that tartness a little bit. One way to do this is by introducing other berries to a sauce to play up those berry flavors and minimize that tang.
My Vanilla Cranberry Sauce with Blueberries is on the sweeter side of things, although the cranberries still deliver a good amount of tart flavor to the sauce. The sauce starts off with plenty of fresh cranberries (frozen, not defrosted will work, too) that are cooked with some sugar and blueberries. Vanilla is added at the end to finish the sauce. The sauce takes just a few minutes to put together and has a great combination of sweet blueberries, bright cranberries and smooth vanilla. It is easy to eat by the spoonful, but tastes great when served as a Thanksgiving side dish or when slathered on a leftover turkey sandwich.
The blueberries add a nice sweetness to the cranberries, and give the sauce a color that is really vibrant – much deeper than cranberries along typically deliver. As with the cranberries, fresh or frozen blueberries can be used, but fresh blueberries will finish a little bit better because they won’t break down quite as much as frozen blueberries will.
The sauce should be cooled before serving, and if it is stored in an airtight container, it will store very well when kept in the fridge.
Vanilla Cranberry Sauce with Blueberries
12-oz cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine cranberries and water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the cranberries begin to pop, about 3-4 minutes.
Add in sugar and blueberries and continue to cook, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Transfer to a refrigerator-safe container and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and place in the fridge. Chill until ready to serve.
Makes about 4 cups.