Cranberry Sauce with port and figs will be the star of your holiday meal. This make ahead Thanksgiving side is both sweet and tart, and a show stopper your guests will love.
Cranberry sauce can sometimes be forgotten until the last minute, which is why canned cranberry sauce is seen so often at Thanksgiving. Don’t be that person. Cranberry sauce with port and figs is really simple to make and it’s actually better if you make it in advance.
I use the terms relish and sauce interchangeably but actually they are very different. A cranberry relish is not cooked, like this recipe from Dinner at the Zoo. I grew up with cranberry sauce which is cooked and is more like a tart jam.
Our standard cranberry sauce with Grand Marnier has always been pretty hard to beat, it’s easy and only requires four ingredients. My family insists on this cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, but I also like cranberry sauce with roasted grapes.
This year, I wanted to try a different version. I’ve had a recipe with Port on my list of side dishes to experiment with for years and finally decided to give it a try. Prepare to be amazed. I will warn you that it is a little pricier than the typical version as it has Port as the base. How can anything with Port be bad.
The prices of Port varies tremendously based on how long it has been aged. You can find several varieties for under $20 which will be great in this side dish.
Why you’ll love homemade cranberry sauce
- If you want something a little more special than plain Jane cranberry sauce, you’ll certainly impress your guests with this fantastic version.
- All the rich food at Thanksgiving or Christmas really calls for a slightly sweet/tart addition
- There is nothing better with leftovers than cranberry sauce.
What you’ll need to make cranberry sauce with port and figs
- Port – a 375 ml bottle
- Dried figs – you can find these in the produce section or with the raisins.
- Fresh cranberries – you can also use frozen
- Fresh rosemary – hopefully you have a pot on your porch but if not, you can find it in the produce section.
- Balsamic vinegar – the grocery store variety, not the expensive drizzling type.
- Brown and white sugar – cranberries are tart, you have to add sugar.
How do you make cranberry sauce
Step 1: Cook the brown sugar, port, vinegar, dried figs and rosemary until the sugar has dissolved. Remove rosemary.
Step 2: Add fresh cranberries and white sugar and cook until the berries have burst and the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate.
The combination of Port, balsamic vinegar and dried figs will steal the show at any dinner, whether Thanksgiving or otherwise.
What’s also nice, is that Port comes in a 375 ml bottle which is the exact amount you need for this recipe.
This sauce not only makes great leftovers at Thanksgiving and Christmas but it’s delicious with pork or beef or chicken. While fresh cranberries are only available around the holidays, they freeze well so you can make this all year long.
What is Port wine
Port is a fortified wine from Portugal that is generally served as a dessert wine due to its richness. When it’s aged it’s called Tawny Port. It’s served in small glasses because of the sweetness and alcohol content of 20%. You can learn more about this fabulous dessert wine from wine folly.
FAQs and tips
You need to make cranberry sauce at least a day in advance so that it can cool. The flavor gets better as it sits so try making it 2-3 days ahead and have one less thing to worry about.
Since this is cooked, it can last a couple of weeks; think of it like a jam.
Cranberry sauce has been cooked, while cranberry relish is raw.
You will find that port wine is sweeter, heavier and richer in alcohol content than unfortified wines.
Figs are a soft, sweet fruit that resemble a teardrop. It’s small seeds are buried inside the thin skin of the fruit. Figs can be eaten when ripe and are often enjoyed dried. Popular ways figs are enjoyed are in fig newton cookies and fig jam.
You have to cook alcohol for over 30 minutes for it to be burned out of food. This only cooks for under 30 minutes so, while you aren’t going to get tipsy, there could still be some alcohol present.
More fruit salads you’ll love
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Cranberry Sauce with Port
- 1 ⅔ cups Ruby Port
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 8 dried figs stemmed and chopped
- 1 6 inch rosemary fresh and whole
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 12 ounces cranberries fresh
- ¾ cup sugar
- In a medium saucepan, combine Port, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, chopped figs and rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, stirring until the brown sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard Rosemary.
- Add cranberries and white sugar and cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries have burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- This can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.
- You can use frozen cranberries instead of fresh.
- Dried figs can be found in the produce section or with the dried fruit.
- Use left overs to serve with chicken, pork or steak.