Cumberland Sauce

Cumberland Sauce Recipe

When I first created this version of this classic sauce, I originally called it ‘Cumberland Sound Sauce’ as I was living on Baffin Island in Northern Canada at the time, and not very far from the actual Cumberland Sound. The English classic is commonly used with Game meats and I anticipated using it with Caribou (aka Reindeer), which abounds up in those parts as the local Venison.

Finally, I also planned to redevelop the sauce using local berries but, alas, that plan did not come to (ahem) fruition, and so what I the condiment you see pictured above is basically a classic Cumberland Sauce. Still, it is very rich and sharply fruity, and it works beautifully with lots of Game, Poultry, and other meat dishes, both hot and cold.

Ingredient Notes

The Recipe Card below calls for both Port and Red Wine, and you should make sure the Port is a decent one, and not one that is too overly sweet. The Wine should be a good, drinkable one as well.

 On that note, when testing this recipe for the first time, I was drinking a some of the Red Wine intended for the recipe while cooking and (possibly as a result of having one too many), I accidentally poured the wine (a nice Merlot) into the sauce, instead of the Port I had on hand. I added a little extra sugar to offset the acidity and discovered the result was actually very tasty.

Naturally, you can experiment with the Wine/Port ratio as you see fit… Just make sure you sample and test them both thoroughly as you go.

The Method

Sautéing Citrus Zest, Garlic and Ginger in Butter
Sautéing Citrus Zest, Garlic and Ginger in Butter

First, Melt the Butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat and then add the Garlic and Ginger. Sauté until the Garlic is translucent and then stir in the Lemon and Orange zest. Continue to stir until the fragrance is released.

Red Wine and Citrus Juices Reducing.
Red Wine and Citrus Juices Reducing.

Now add the Mustard Powder, Sugar and Vinegar and stir to make a paste. Then add the Red Wine, and the Orange and Lemon Juice. Cook down for a minute or two, stirring well.

Finishing Cumberland Sauce
Finishing Cumberland Sauce

Finally, add the Redcurrant Jelly and, when it is melted, add the Port followed by the cornstarch slurry. Turn up the heat briefly and stir until the mixture is thickened.

You can now serve it immediately or else keep in the refrigerator until needed. It will keep well for a couple of weeks at least.

An appetizer of Crispy Pork Belly with Cumberland Sauce.
An appetizer of Crispy Pork Belly with Cumberland Sauce.

Well, no Caribou on hand to illustrate an excellent use of this sauce, but here you can see it accompanying a little appetizer of Crispy Skin Pork. It works well with just about any meat, whether hot or cold, and it makes a great substitute for Cranberry Jelly for Poultry, and is a treat with Duck.

Your Recipe Card:

Cumberland Sauce

Cumberland Sauce, is rich with Citrus, Redcurrants, and Port, and makes a terrific accompaniment to Game, and other meats, both hot and cold.
Course: Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine: English
Keyword: Garlic Paste, Ginger Paste, Lemon Juice, Pickled Mustard, Red Wine, Redcurrant Jelly, Port, Citrus Zest
Author: John Thompson

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. Butter;
  • 1 tbsp. minced Garlic;
  • 1 tsp. minced Ginger;
  • 1 tsp. minced Orange zest;
  • 1 tbsp. minced Lemon zest;
  • 1 tbsp. Mustard Powder;
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar;
  • 1 pinch Salt;
  • 2 tbsp. Orange Juice;
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice;
  • 3 tbsp. Red Wine;
  • ½ cup Redcurrant Jelly;
  • ½ cup Port;
  • 1 tbsp. Cornstarch made into a slurry with a little water.

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat and then add the Garlic and Ginger.
  • When the Garlic is translucent, stir in the Lemon and Orange zest and continue to stir until their fragrance is released.
  • Stir in the Mustard Powder, Sugar and Vinegar, add the Red Wine, Orange Juice and Lemon Juice, and cook down for a minute or two, stirring well.
  • Add the jelly and, when it is melted, add the port followed by the cornstarch slurry.
  • Turn up the heat briefly and stir until the mixture is thickened.
  • Serve or refrigerate for later use.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!