Cumberland Sauce is an old English sauce that is traditionally served with cold meats and is excellent with lamb, pork and just about any game. The Oxford Dictionary describes Cumberland Sauce as a “piquant sauce served esp. with cold meat”. And it is indeed piquant, with a touch sweet.
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How do you make Cumberland Sauce?
The Traditional Cumberland Sauce has only a few ingredients:
- redcurrant jelly
There are many, many variations out there and the addition of mustard and ginger is quite a popular one that I think just enhances the acidity of the sauce and gives it depth. But not too much of either, a hint is perfect, because what do I always say?
Less is MORE!
Cumberland Sauce Ingredients
Click here for the recipe. Redcurrant jelly is a thoroughly English preserve, and is easily found in the supermarkets here in the UK. I can usually get redcurrants right up to the end of November, if not later, so I tend to make the redcurrant jelly too.
However, using shop bought redcurrant jelly is perfectly fine. Just be sure to use a good redcurrant jelly, check the ingredients and make sure that you have a very high proportion of currants to sugar. This is to avoid ending up with a sickly sweet Cumberland sauce.
Port for Cumberland Sauce
Always use alcohol that you would drink on its own. The same goes, in my opinion, for the port here. You don’t need to use a 10-year old Port, as I’ve done here. At £20 a bottle, it does rather seem like a waste. Shop around and find a port that is good enough to drink on its own.
Is Cumberland Sauce served Hot or Cold?
Cumberland Sauce is always served cold or at room temperature. As mentioned above, it is extremely good with cold cuts of meat whether it’s duck, goose, gammon and even turkey. And is also perfect with mixed game pie.
This is why we always have some during the Christmas holidays, when there is always some cold meat, of various forms, to be had, right up to the New Year.
Do you have a favourite sauce during the holidays?
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More British Recipes
Cumberland Sauce (a Classic English Sauce for Cold Meats)
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp sugar
- 5 Tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 5 Tbsp port
- 2.5 cm fresh ginger, grated OR ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp mustard powder
- Using a vegetable peeler, thinly pare off the zest of the orange and lemon in long strips.
- Using a knife, slice the zest into thin strips.
- Bring a small amount of water to boil in a small saucepan.
- Add the sugar and the orange and lemon zest.
- Lower the heat down and simmer for 3 minutes. This is to get rid of any bitterness in the peel.
- Strain and leave aside until the end, throwing away the liquid.
- Rinse and dry the saucepan and place the rest of the ingredients into it. So, the orange and lemon juices, redcurrant jelly, port, ginger and mustard.
- Bring to a simmer and leave to cook for 5-10 minutes, to allow to thicken and for the flavours to deepen. The time depends on how you like your sauce, thick, strongly flavoured and almost syrupy, or light.I go the full 10 minutes for a lick the spoon Cumberland Sauce! Take it off the heat when the time is up. For a perfectly smooth sauce, strain to as sieve. I rather like the bits of ginger in mine, so I usually leave it as it is.
- Stir in the orange and lemon zests and the sauce is ready to be served, once cooled to room temperature. You can serve it at room temperature or straight out of the fridge.
- Store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to a week.