Bordeaux Cranberry Compote

For as long as I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I have been using the same delicious Cranberry Compote recipe. Obviously, I really, really like the recipe, otherwise I wouldn’t keeping making it. But I recently came across a recipe for Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce from Avery Cooks that inspired me to make a few simple changes to my old standby … just to try something new.  So, I substituted a Bordeaux for the water in my recipe and blueberries for one cup of the cranberries, and made a few minor changes. As I expected, the compote was different, but still delicious. The wine and blueberries added nice, but subtle, background flavor and created a darker colored compote. (For a more pronounced wine flavor, one could cut back some on the spices or on the cranberries which are both still pretty prominent flavors.) This dish is fairly chunky and I like to add fresh fruit right before serving because its crisp texture and flavor provide a pleasing contrast when paired with the sweet and tangy cranberry mixture.

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Ingredients

1 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. red Bordeaux wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or similar wine)

6 whole cloves

3 whole allspice

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 t. ground mace

1/2 c. dried cranberries

2 T. dried blueberries

1 c. frozen blueberries

2. c fresh cranberries (washed and picked over)

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

zest from 1 fragrant orange

Optional, 1 1/2 c. chopped fresh apples, pears and/or oranges.

Directions

1. Combine sugar, wine and spices in a 2-quart non-stick pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, then remove cloves, allspice and cinnamon. (Count to make sure that you have all of them.)

2. Stir dried fruits into wine mixture. Allow dried fruits to simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir in frozen blueberries. When the mixture returns to a simmer, stir in fresh cranberries.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped. Stir in walnuts and orange zest, then remove from heat.

3. Chill in a clean glass jar until serving. If desired, toss cranberry mixture with fresh apple, pear and/or orange chunks first right before serving.

Have fun getting ready for the holidays! I hope that you enjoy the recipe!

View my previous Thanksgiving-related posts:

Blood and Sand Cocktails

Black Tea Sangria (Mocktail)

Chanterelle Risotto with Truffle Butter

Little Apple Manhattan Cocktails

Chocolate Bourbon Pots de Creme with Orange Bourbon Cherries

Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations

Preparing for Thanksgiving (Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes and the Original Cranberry Compote)

Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations: An Interview with Chad Lohman, C.S.

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    As I mentioned in my last post, Thanksgiving is a month away and already I am preparing our menu. I do love planning a holiday meal! Thinking ahead, I decided to go into Nespor’s Wine and Spirits to chat with Chad Lohman – owner of Nespor’s and Certified Sommelier – about his wine recommendations for Thanksgiving.

Our conversation went like this …

(Me) Hi, Chad, if you have time, I’d love to talk with you about your wine recommendations for Thanksgiving so that I can pass them along to my readers. I don’t want to take too much of your time, but I have a couple of specific topics on which I am hoping to pick your brain.

(Me) First of all, I think that Champagnes are great for serving with special meals because they go well with so many different types of food.

(Chad) I agree, but unfortunately a lot of people don’t realize that Champagnes, Proseccos, and Cavas – basically, any good sparkling wine – are great for serving at holidays because they do go so well with food. We have a Cava from Spain that we are recommending for Thanksgiving this year. Naveran Cava Brut 2010 ($16.99), which was given 90 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, is a nice neutral sparkling wine for pairing with foods.

(Me) Since not everyone appreciates sparkling wines, what would you recommend for a white wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner?

(Chad) For holiday meals where there are so many different flavors on the table, it is a good idea to have a wine that works well with a lot of foods rather than trying to pair a wine with every dish. Also, you want something that is accessible to different palates. An off-dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer – but not the sweeter varieties – would perform well in this role. You want something that is lightly sweet, but has good acidity. A couple of recommendations would be Alsace Willm Riesling and Hook & Ladder Gewürztraminer ($19.99).

(Me) Oh, yes, I purchased some of the Hook & Ladder around this time last year. It’s not too sweet and has a bite of grapefruit in the finish. I remember liking it with food, but that it wasn’t what I would consider a sipping wine.

(Chad) Right. For a sipping wine, I would go with a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

(Me) … something like Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc ($19.99)

(Chad) … which is a classic Sauvignon Blanc, or Honig from Napa Valley which is Cabernet country.

(Me)  Thanks. Sorry, I digressed. So, getting back on topic, I am quite happy to drink white wines with Thanksgiving dinner, but I know that we have some friends who don’t like white wines. I briefly considered serving a dry rosé from France, but thought that would be too light to hold up to most of the foods on the table; and someone who doesn’t like white wines, probably isn’t going to like a rosé anyway. Do you have any reds to recommend for me?

(Chad) A darker colored dry rosé – not a sweet White Zin – should hold up ok. Les Lauzeraies Tavel 2012 ($15.99) is a dry rosé with more body and would go with a Thanksgiving ham, for example. For reds, a Pinot Noir or Gamay Beaujolais would pair nicely with Thanksgiving dishes … and, of course, there is always Beaujolais Nouveau which comes out around the 3rd week of November.

(Me) Right. I usually have a Beaujolais Nouveau for one of our Thanksgiving selections. It is very light and as you put it, “accessible”; and also is a traditional selection for the time of year. But if I wanted to serve a Pinot Noir or Gamay Beaujolais, what would be your recommendation?

(Chad) We have two Pinot Noirs that we are recommending right now: Monte Degli Angeli 2012 ($12.99) and Lomas del Valle 2012 ($14.99).  The Monte del Angeli is more earthy and has a softer mouth feel. The Lomas del Valle ($14.99) has more of a big fruit, big (alcohol) mouth feel.

(Me) In my November (Thanksgiving) newsletter, I am including a recipe for Chanterelles Risotto with Truffle Butter.

(Chad) The Monte del Angelli should go nicely with the earthy flavors of the Chanterelles and truffles.

(Me) Now what about dessert? I’ve served dessert wines a few years and they don’t seem that popular at Thanksgiving. Everyone is pretty full by then, of course. I’m thinking about maybe having a brandy for after dinner instead.

(Chad) My recommendation would be a Ruby Port or a Tawny Port, but not a Vintage Port. Now with ports, you are going to want to avoid the inexpensive ones. Which do you think you would prefer? Tawny ports are going to have a little bit more of a nutty flavor. Ruby ports will be a little fruitier.

(Me) Let’s try a ruby.

(Chad) Nierpoort Ruby is actually not a bad price ($19.99) and would be nice for after dinner. Serve it at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, around the same temperature that you would serve a rosé.

(Me) Great. Sounds like we have some good ideas. Thanks, Chad!

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