Cumberland Sauce

Along with Sandwich Pickle, Gentlemen's Relish and Mushroom Ketchup, Cumberland Sauce is one of those indispensable store cupboard items.  It's most often called for during the Christmas season when cold buffets and game are plentiful.

Made from oranges, onions, redcurrant jelly and cider with a selection of spices, its sweet and sour taste goes wonderfully with cold meats, be they the remains of the Christmas turkey, a glazed ham, tongue, potted meats, game or rich liver pate. And it's equally wonderful partnered with roast goose as part of a traditional Christmas dinner.

It's also blissfully straightforward to make. The quantities can be reduced or increased as needed and it keeps well in the fridge or a cool, dark cupboard.

Ingredients for Cumberland Sauce

Cumberland Sauce © Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.comCumberland Sauce
© Monkey Business Images |

This recipe makes a sensible amount for a family of four. If you like it and use it a lot, make a larger quantity accordingly.

  • 3 large oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 175g (6oz) onions
  • 1 tablespoons oil
  • 350g (12oz) redcurrant jelly
  • 2 teaspoon English mustard
  • 50ml (2 fl oz) cider vinegar
  • pinch of ground mace, ground ginger, and salt

How to Make Cumberland Sauce

  1. Use a zester to remove the peel from the oranges and lemons. Take care not to grate any of the white pith, which is horribly bitter.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and lemons and soak the peel in it for 30mins.
  3. Peel and finely chop the onions. Heat the oil and gently cook the onions until translucent. This will take about 10mins.
  4. Add the redcurrant jelly, orange and lemon juice and the soaked peel. Stir in the mustard, spices and vinegar.
  5. Dissolve the redcurrant jelly over a low heat, stirring frequently. Then boil for 5-10mins until the sauce begins to thicken.
  6. Take the sauce off the heat and leave to cool a little.
  7. I like my Cumberland Sauce 'bitty', but if you'd rather have yours smooth, then now is the time to blitz it to your preferred consistency. A stick blender makes short work of this.
  8. Then pour the mixture into clean preserving jars and leave the sauce to cool completely.

Cumberland Sauce all ready? For more Christmas food return to the Recipes page.

You may find the following pages helpful for more Christmas food ideas: