By Gwen Ashley Walters | NOVEMBER 22, 2009 | RECIPES

My cranberry sauce doesn’t come out of a can. (although it did for a number of years).

Now it comes with a little booze (shhh!) Just a little port and a splash of the most syrupy, orangey liqueur, Grand Marnier.

And some brown sugar. (or white sugar, really, it doesn’t matter).

Bring the berries, port and sugar to a boil. (Save the Grand Marnier for later.)

While the berries are coming to a boil, chop a quarter of an orange, peel and all. Really fine.

Really, really fine.

The orange makes the compote thicken. I’ve see recipes calling for even more orange but a quarter seems to be the right balance. Well, that and the Grand Marnier.

After the compote thickens, take it off the heat and add dried cherries. Or dried cranberries. Or dried chopped figs. Or dried fill-in-the-blank fruit.

And throw in some toasted walnuts. But don’t add them until you’re ready to serve it so they stay crunchy.

You can just sprinkle them on top if you like. Or mix them in. Your call.

Serve it in a pretty bowl. Or an ugly one, if that’s what your mother-in-law gave you and she’s coming to dinner.

Cranberry Orange Compote

Makes 3 cups

1 (12-ounce) package of fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup dark brown sugar (or light brown, or white, we don’t discriminate)
1/2 cup ruby Port wine
1/4 large navel orange, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dried cherries, or cranberries or other dried fruit
1 generous tablespoon Grand Marnier
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans

1. Stir cranberries, sugar and Port together in a heavy saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Stir in chopped orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and reduce heat to a simmer.

2. Simmer until cranberries burst and mixture thickens, about 12 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in dried fruit and Grand Marnier. Cool to room temperature. Stir in nuts just before serving.

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Christi | NOVEMBER 30, 2009

delightful – everyone loved it, thanks for sharing!

chefgwen | NOVEMBER 30, 2009

Christi, you’re so sweet to let me know. Thank you. I made it for our table, too. Leftovers went to turkey sandwiches, and as muffin toppers.

Teresa | DECEMBER 01, 2009

Hi Gwen,

This was so good and enjoyed by all. Thanks for being a part of our Thanksgiving. I enjoy your blog and your pictures are perfect. Great job and thanks for sharing.

Happy Holidays!


chefgwen | DECEMBER 02, 2009

Thank you, Teresa… happy holidays to you, too.

matrioskasadventures | DECEMBER 04, 2009

I love compote, it reminds me my childhood! this recipe is really inspiring!

Nick | DECEMBER 04, 2009

Gwen, did I miss something or did you just drink the Grand Marnier?

Love you, and hope to see you and Jeff over the holidays.

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