Cumberland Sauce

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.

Cumberland Sauce

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.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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2 Responses to Cumberland Sauce

  1. Grey Smith says:

    Re. your 2001 recipe for Cumberland sauce: how many more years are you going to wait for the rest of the world to adopt your spelling of “red currant”?

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