When I first moved to Toronto I was living as a student, but loved to go out and eat. One of my favorite Cafes (the name of which has totally escaped me) was upstairs in a little house just off Yonge Street near Alexander….for not too much money you could get Pâté with a big basket of bread that came with Cumberland Sauce. I had never heard of Cumberland Sauce and thought it was très sophisticated. Mostly I think I liked it because it was sweet.
Many years have passed and I haven’t given Cumberland Sauce much thought. Until recently when I was looking for something to liven up some Mushroom Pâté that I was making for a Vegan friend.
Now I have fallen in love all over again with this wonderful piquant sauce. It’s good with just about everything, Roasted Duck or Goose, nut crusted chicken breasts, Roast Pork, pan-fried crunchy pork belly nuggets and yes, even Mushroom Pâté.
There are many versions of Cumberland Sauce and lively debate as to its origins. Here is the recipe I made with a few options so you can tailor it to your taste.
Walking through the market just at closing I noticed a table filled with quart baskets of red currents. The man before me ask for 2 quarts and the farmer made him a deal of 2 for 10 (normally I think they were 7 per quart) so I said I’d take the same if he’d give me the same deal, which indeed he did. I came home and made my own jelly which I used for the Cumberland Sauce, but fine jarred jelly will do just fine.
In a medium saucepan add 1 cup of red current jelly and over medium heat melt it, when it has become quite liquid stir in 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped shallot 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped Lemon and Orange zest, and 2 Teaspoons of finely grated fresh Ginger, stir to incorporate and cook for a minute then add: 1/2 cup Port (Tawny or Ruby makes no matter) either 1 Teaspoon Mustard powder or 2 Teaspoons Dijon, 2 Tablespoon freshly Squeezed Orange Juice and 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice (use the juice from the lemon and orange you got the peel from) stir over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Season with a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of cayenne.
Truly addictive. The ginger, cayenne and the mustard are all extra according to some purists so if you think this Cumberland is to tarted up make it without these ingredients first and if you want more spice you can always add them at the end!
We were to busy eating these nut crusted chicken breast slathered in Cumberland Sauce to take a nice beauty shot of sauce artfully dribbled over a perfectly cut piece of tender white breast, but something tells me you get the idea.