True Blathe Cranberry Sass

In the spirit of both the bloody historical implications, and the tradition of sharing food and gratitude with blood and kin, I offer you my favorite cranberry sauce recipe. As an added bonus to cooking with painters, this one looks very much like a gothic bloodbath.

I used to abhor cranberry sauce, so I whipped up this one in an effort to make something decadent and delicious, and it’s become one of the staples at my family’s table.

Sarah Zar's Famous Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Sarah Zar’s Famous Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Disclaimer: By now, we all know about the real history of Thanksgiving, and America.  And it feels particularly poignant this year, as we witness the resistance at Standing Rock.  But we also know that it is still a time when our families travel great distances to be together, which (despite the trigger), is a…. special…. time.

So, in the spirit of both the bloody historical implications, and the tradition of sharing food and gratitude with blood and kin, I offer you my favorite cranberry sauce recipe.


A sweet, premeditated dish.  Since this can be served hot or chilled, it can be made up to 3 days ahead. (But unlike revenge, this dish is best served hot). 


1 cup ruby Port
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup orange juice (no pulp)
orange rind, debearded
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup of cherries(either pitted fresh or dried)
A handful of dried blueberries
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar or brown sugar for richness

You will need two saucepans, and of course, a knife.


As with any proper murderous brew, first there is the mulling.

This is the time to think about the bad things you’ve done

  • PAN 1: Bring ruby port and broken cinnamon sticks to boil in a heavy, medium saucepan. (Continue with 15 extra minutes of boiling if you need to remove all alcohol, for allergic or sober loved ones.)
  • PAN 2: In a second pan, at the same time, boil orange juice and red wine with a sachet (metal for consistency) of cloves, cinnamon, a light dash of allspice if you want it, and knife-scraped nutmeg.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.  Then, set the spiced concoction aside until later.
  • PAN 1: Add dried cranberries and blueberries to the main saucepan.  Simmer until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.  Slowly add the mull from the second pan, as desired: you don’t have to use all of it.  (Anything left of that can be honeyed and fed to little sisters).
    • Add fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup water, and sugar; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
    • Add the cherries.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until cranberry sauce thickens and is darker in color and berries burst and collapse, stirring often, about 20 minutes. You don’t want to let it turn to a jelly, so keep a wary eye on it.  A bloody consistency or slightly thicker is best.
    • Transfer sauce to bowl; cool.
    • Discard cinnamon sticks and sachet.
    • Cover and chill.
    • Bring to room temperature before serving.

I alter this recipe a little bit every year, to keep people on their toes, so if you give it a shot, and come up with any interesting variations, let me know….

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