I think you can eat this cranberry sauce year ’round, not just on Thanksgiving. It’s nice on turkey sandwiches or on biscuits. The star anise adds a little something special, but if you can’t find it, you could use a bit of cinnamon, or maybe a few anise seeds tied together in cheesecloth. If you must, you could also substitute whiskey for the bourbon. Use a vegetable peeler to make the lemon peel strip, taking care not to get any of the bitter white pith underneath. Note that although the cranberry mixture will be quite hot when you pour in the bourbon, the booze really doesn’t cook off (i.e., you probably shouldn’t serve it to children). This is an adaptation of a recipe originally published, long ago, in Bon Appétit. It makes a little less than 3 cups.
One 15-ounce bag fresh cranberries (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 small star anise pod
1 strip lemon or orange peel, about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide (wash the fruit well in hot water if waxed)
1/4 cup bourbon
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Combine the cranberries, sugar, star anise, and lemon (or orange) peel in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Stir the mixture, recover with foil, and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, or until the cranberries are very tender and the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven and gently stir in the bourbon.
- Cool, then refrigerate until chilled. Remove the star anise pod and lemon peel before serving.