With smoky heat from the chipotle and vibrant tartness from frozen cranberries, this gorgeous, pink-red sauce is the prefect match for a rich and succulent ribeye.
For the printable recipe PDF click here.
Looking for some fun flavors to spice up your steak night?
This delightfully unconventional steak sauce blends together two unlikely ingredients-- frozen cranberries and smoky, spicy chipotle peppers-- and comes together in two simple steps: blend and boil.
This recipe came about because I was looking for something to jazz up some steaks at the last minute, and I had next to nothing on hand.
The pantry was devoid of inspiration.
Scanning the contents of the fridge, I noticed an open can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and made a mental note to come up with something to do with them . . . later.
Peering in the freezer, I caught a glimpse of some fresh cranberries I had washed and frozen after the holidays. Wonder when I'll do something with those, I pondered.
Then it hit me: cranberry-chipotle steak sauce! Three birds, one stone. That's what I call and win-win-win.
The result was a stunning, raspberry-hued sauce, perfect for spicing up your next date night or family steak night.
Let's talk ingredients:
I used frozen cranberries because that is what I had on hand. You could probably use fresh instead, but I haven't tested that yet, so I can't say for sure how the substitution would affect the outcome.
As for the chipotle, I used a whole chipotle chile canned in adobo sauce, a flavorful condiment made of chiles, vinegar, tomato paste, onions, and spices, popular in Mexican cuisine. Now from a paleo perspective, the adobo sauce could present a problem for some. Many adobo sauces contain conventional sugar and either canola or soybean oil, and some may contain other less-clean ingredients. I was not too bothered by the contents of mine, but I would always suggest looking at the ingredients label.
If you wanted to skip the adobo altogether, here are some suggestions:
swap the chipotle pepper for a teaspoon of chipotle powder and a 1/2 tsp of vinegar
try a fresh red jalapeno with a 1/2 tsp of vinegar and a 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
grind up an easier-to-find dried ancho chile pepper into a fine powder and add a 1/2 tsp of vinegar (anchos also have a nice, earthy, somewhat smoky flavor)
Those are just some thoughts on what might work--I haven't tried them myself yet, so if you do, let me know how they turn out!
I add water to help the mixture achieve the perfect, smooth consistency in the blender. I prefer a high-powered blender like a Vita Mix for this, but you could also try a food processor.
After blending, I like to bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. I just feel like the cooking process gives the sauce a little more cohesion and glossiness.
Then I stir in a little bit of raw honey and salt to balance both the spice of the chipotle and the super-tart cranberry flavor. I like to stir the honey in off the heat to minimize any damage to the honey's potential health benefits. The salt could really be added at any point, but I like to add it at the end so I can taste and get a sense for how much I need. If you prefer a different sweetener, such as brown sugar or coconut sugar, it would be best to add that before heating.
This chipotle cranberry sauce has just a hint of sweetness, but if you prefer more of a true sweet heat, feel free to increase the amount of honey or sweetener of your choice. Normally I would add black pepper or red pepper flakes as well, but with all the spice and depth in the chipotle, I don't think either is needed.
That's about it. Not your typical steak sauce (or your typical homemade cranberry sauce), to be sure. But maybe that's a good thing. You could try this sauce on anything from casual hanger steaks on busy weeknights to fancy prime rib on your holiday table. With it's glamourous color, I think it screams Valentine's Day. It could definitely boost the flavor of a lean meat like beef tenderloin, but I adore how its vibrancy cuts through the richness of a high-fat meat like ribeye. Hope you love it!
Here's what you'll need:
1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce)
1 cup frozen cranberries
1 cup water
1 tsp kosher salt (give or take)
1 T honey
Here's what you'll do:
Place the chipotle pepper, cranberries, and water in a blender and process till smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a small-to-medium saucepan over med-high heat and bring just to a boil.
Reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Off the heat, stir in the honey. Add salt to taste, about 1 tsp.
Serve immediately or cool and transfer to an airtight container to store in the fridge until ready to use. The sauce keeps this way for at least a week, just give a good shake or stir before serving to loosen up. Serve hot or cold.
For the printable recipe PDF click here.