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Festive Cranberry and Balsamic Sauce

Well the decision’s been made to move away from our southern hemisphere tradition of a seafood based Christmas lunch to have turkey and all the trimmings this year.  I’ve already stocked up on cranberries and started experimenting with sauces and chutneys to accompany the Christmas bird.  Along the way while eating the test batches I found that the cranberry and balsamic sauce goes equally well in a grilled chicken burger, on a chicken and brie pizza, with a vegetarian nut loaf or a cheese platter.  Clearly I associate the jeweled tones of the sauce with white food (cheese, chicken, turkey and nuts), although these are all very good I might need to stretch my horizons.

I knew I wanted a less ‘jammy’ consistency than the local store bought brands seem to offer.  I wanted to keep as much texture as I could.  It needed to be savoury, not too sweet and keep a little of the sharpness the cranberries offered with being too sour.  I was cautious of over sweetening it but was surprised at how much sugar it needed to get the result I wanted.

I experimented with adding orange juice and zest which we found a bit sweet but balsamic vinegar added the depth and faintly acidic bite I was after.  So I give you our new traditon .. cranberry and balsamic sauce.

What big feasting holidays do you celebrate in your home country and what dishes make it extra special for you and your family?


Festive Cranberry & Balsamic Sauce

  • 500 g bag of frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  1. Place all the ingredients in a covered saucepan over a medium head and bring to a simmer.
  2. Leave the lid of the pan slightly ajar to allow the steam to escape as it reduces.
  3. Cook for around 20 minutes, the berries will begin to split and it forms a thick sauce.
  4. It will continue to thicken up once removed from the heat so if you like more of a sauce than a chutney consistency don’t reduce it down too far.
  5. Allow it to cool to room temperature before serving or you can store it in the fridge until needed.


I made our sauce with frozen cranberries, in Australia it’s not something I’ve seen grown locally at all but they would definitely be out of season for our Christmas in the heat of summer.  Of course if you live somewhere with access to fresh fruit then that’s even better.


Sound good?  You can pin these in Pinterest to make it easy to find

Festive Cranberry & Balsamic Sauce
Festive Cranberry & Balsamic Sauce


If cranberries aren’t available locally or you want to try something a bit different with the holiday roast then you might like to take a look at our Blueberry and Bourbon chutney.  It’s another delicious option that would go perfectly on the festive table, have dozens of other uses in the pre-season entertaining and jazz up the left overs.

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