Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cointreau Cumberland – a saucy little number !

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It’s funny how Cumberland Sauce has ended up being a quintessentially English sauce when it has its roots in Germany – a bit like the royal family, you might say.
Traditionally, it comprises port and redcurrant jelly with a few other bits and pieces - ground ginger, powdered mustard etc. It should be thin, and sweet-ish, a pretty ruby colour with the gentle kick of a retired can-can dancer.
Let’s go with the dancer analogy: If I was a critic watching this sauce prance around the kitchen I would scribble the following notes:
A little too thin to carry the role... a touch too sweet... needs more attack...
Thicker than the traditional sauce - and golden rather than ruby - this saucy little Cointreau-laced number is more than able to high-kick its way across your taste buds and is well able to stand up to rich pâtés or terrines. (It is also delicious with the inevitable cold turkey and ham.)

For a sauce with more attitude you will need...

1 lemon
1 large orange
200g plum jam (or similar flavour, not too dominant)
4 tablespoons Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
10g fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
100mls fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard  

1.           First, using a vegetable peeler, thinly peel the zest from the lemon and the orange, leaving as much of the white pith behind. Trim the peelings with a sharp knife to remove any of this bitter pith that still clings to the zest. Cut the peel into 4cm lengths trimming the edges so they are straight (this looks nicer in the finished sauce). You can discard the uneven trimmings. Cut the strips of zest into the thinnest shreds you can manage. Put them in a small bowl and cover with boiling water to soften the flavour.
2.           While the zest is soaking, place the plum jam in a small saucepan, with the Cointreau, ginger, lemon juice and orange juice. Heat gently until simmering and allow to bubble gently for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will help evaporate some of the alcohol.
3.           Pass the sauce through a strainer to remove the ginger and any fruity pulp from the jam and fruit juices. Taking a little of the strained sauce, added it to the mustard, mixing until smooth. Return this mixture to the sauce. Drain the shredded zest and pat with kitchen paper to remove any excess water before adding to the sauce. Leave to cool. 

I particulary love this sauce with this ridiculously easy chicken liver pâté.
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