My favorite homemade Cumberland sauce

Plate of paté with pickles, orange and homemade cumberland sauce with port

Pâté served with homemade Cumberland sauce, pickled cucumbers “cornichons” and a slice of orange.
Photo for CMC © Jan-Erik Nilsson, 2009.

Just a few days ago while shopping, I ran into some really nice looking pâté, and I felt that was just the thing for an Easter lunch. After stopping by the delicatessen counter and checking out their version of Cumberland sauce, I found it was nothing like what I wanted out of a Cumberland sauce, so I decided to go home and make our own.

It is not very expensive and surprisingly easy to make. If you haven’t tried this before, you will find that it will only take a few minutes from start to finish. Here is what I used:

1 lemon
1 orange
1 jar of redcurrant jelly
1 glass of port
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 table spoon grounded ginger

Ingredients to Cumberland sauce, port, lemon, orange and redcurrant jelly

Port table-setting: the ingredients to the Cumberland sauce.

Some good port to give the Cumberland sauce its personality, lemon, orange, ginger and redcurrant jelly. I used two wine glasses filled with redcurrant jelly in this recipe. Chocolate mints (in the foreground) and some rich purple tulips (flowers of the season) to complement the Easter season and brighten up the kitchen while cooking!

Preparation of orange and lemon rinds

Peel off the absolute outer part of the rind – the zest – on the orange and the lemon. You will not need much of this. Avoid cutting into the white inner layer, the pith, since this is unpleasantly bitter. Slice finely and cook for 5 minutes to soften up and clean away anything funny that might be on the peel. Discard the water.

Peeling the zest off a lemon, orange rind in foreground

This is the only tricky part. Here I needed to be very careful not to cut too deep into the peel as I only wanted the outer, colorful layer of the rind, the zest.

Orange and lemon rinds, sliced thinly

Lemon and orange zests, sliced thin.

This is much more than you will need, just take a few spoons of this after it is boiled.

Orange and lemon rinds cooking to soften them

Cooking the rinds.

Actually, using the rinds is not necessary at all in some recipes. But if you want to use the rind like how it was done here, cooking them for a few minutes to get them clean is a good idea. It also gets the rinds to soften.

Shredded ginger

Grated ginger to the Cumberland sauce.

Some grated ginger adds a peppery undertone to the sauce that is hard to pinpoint when tasting, but fits very nicely to most meat you can use this sauce to. Just imagine some calf or turkey together with this sauce!

Melting the jelly and adding some port

Warm the redcurrant jelly in a pot adding about half as much port as you have jelly. You can use less if you want but a good port is necessary for the flavour.

Pouring Port into the pot to make Cumberland sauce

The port goes in with the redcurrant jelly.

Mix the juice from one orange with the juice from half a lemon. Add ginger and mustard and a couple of spoons of the lemon and orange zest for flavour and decoration.

Orange juice goes into the Cumberland sauce

Adding the juice from one orange and one half lemon to taste.

Now for the last minute magic trick, just before serving, add a teaspoon-sized dash of port on top of the Cumberland sauce and give it a quick stir.

Cumberland sauce

Done. This sauce can be served warm or cold depending on the dish.

If you feel like experimenting, this sauce will go excellent with lamb too. You can try serving it as a complement or as an alternative to the mint sauce that is more often served with lamb, and see which one you prefer.

Smaklig Måltid this Easter!

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