This is a simple, fun recipe that has a lovely sweet-tart taste different from straight cranberry sauce. It's really easy to make it a day ahead and take to a pot luck or as a hostess gift. I give it for Christmas with other holiday goodies, so I can it. It also fills your house with yummy holiday smells while you're making it.
Cranberry and Dried Cherry Sauce
Raisins or dried cranberries could easily stand in for the dried tart cherries.
1 12-ounce container frozen cranberry juice cocktail, thawed
1 cup water
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 6-ounce package dried tart cherries
1 12-ounce bag cranberries
Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cherries; cook 2 minutes, maintaining the boil. Add cranberries; cook until berries pop, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Cover; chill overnight. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled.) Discard cinnamon. Serve cold or at room temperature. Makes about 4 cups.
It's really as easy as that. I tie the cinnamon sticks into a bit of cheese cloth to make a spice bag because they like to hide in the sauce. You can see it in that first picture, hanging out as I wait for the concentrate, water, and sugar to boil. The second picture shows the cranberries floating; they do that, you just need to stir occasionally so they get into the boiling liquid to cook and pop. The last shows the popped cranberries with the dark-brown cherries peeking out. It's very thin at this point. It will thicken in the refrigerator overnight or with canning.
The Ball Blue Book says to can cranberry sauce in a hot water bath for 15 minutes, so I do that (and add 5 minutes for pint jars). If you're making a large batch for canning be sure to stir it really well before putting it in the jars: the cranberries float and the dried fruit sinks. A quadruple batch gave me nine pints - that's a lot of sauce! I can it in different sizes: cute little half-cups for my single friends, pints for Grandpa Jim who's allergic to corn syrup (and anything corn) and therefore doesn't get a lot of sweets and thinks this stuff is the bee's knees.
My jars look dusty because our water is a little hard. I've just taken them out of the canner and they're still too hot to wash off.
Serve it where you would serve cranberry sauce. Mom says she's spooned it over cottage cheese and tossed it with fresh cut melon for a fruit salad. Grandpa Jim eats it right out of the jar (so do I!) The sweet-tart flavor lends itself to a lot of recipes. I find myself wondering if it'd made a good ham glaze, or might go nice with a ricotta cheese filling.