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Cumberland – An All Purpose Wild Game Sauce

If I could only use one sauce to go with all my wild game, it’d be this one. Loosely based on the classic Cumberland sauce, this is a perfect pan sauce recipe that comes together quickly for wild game you have seared rare-to-medium.

classic cumberland sauce

I use this sauce most often with venison, pigeon, duck or goose breasts, or woodcock when I can get it. Any red meat served pink works well with this sauce.

Serves 4.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup Port wine
  • 1/4 cup of the appropriate demi-glace (duck, beef, venison or vegetable)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red currant jelly, highbush cranberry jelly or lingonberry jelly (not jam)

  1. When your meat has come out of the pan, add the flour and mix with the remaining fat in the pan. If there is none, add a tablespoon of oil or fat. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the flour is browned, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the Port. Let this boil furiously until it is reduced by half.
  3. Add the demi-glace, the salt, thyme and cayenne and let this boil down by half.
  4. Add the red currant jelly and the black pepper, then stir well to combine. Let all this boil down until it is thick, but still pourable. Serve at once.

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2 responses to “Cumberland – An All Purpose Wild Game Sauce”

  1. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife

    I was served magret duck breasts in the south of France with a red currant sauce. The whole dish was sweet and yet somehow balanced too. I got the recipe, which goes like this: score the skin over the breasts to facilitate rendering, and season with salt and white pepper. Cook in a well heated pan, breast side down, for about 8 minutes. Collect excess fat as it renders and reserve. Flip the breasts and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Place them in a very low oven to keep warm. Saute fat slices of tart apples in the same pan with the reserved fat. When well browned on both sides, add them to the plate of breasts in the oven. Deglaze with a small amount of water. Add currant jelly and cream. Reduce to consistency and serve everything forth. It’s really easy, and really, really good, the breasts just a little rare in the centers.

  2. nolatodd

    This sauce is sooo good. We had 2 woodcock that we grilled, then I made this sauce in a pan and added the juices we caught in foil off the birds as they roasted. Perfect flavor, slightly sweet. Perfect with the woodcock and I would think it would be great on any duck. We had a little venison and I didn’t much like it on that, it came across to sweet but it would be great on any dark poultry.

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