I stumbled across a great blog recently while searching for a new way to prepare venison tenderloin. It’s called Hunter-Angler-Gardener-Cook, and as you can guess based on the name, it’s written by a guy who loves to hunt, fish, garden and eat.
On that blog, I found a recipe for a sauce called Cumberland sauce. The writer, Hank Shaw, describes it as “the ultimate wild game sauce” because it includes notes of sweet, tart, savory and spicy. The beautiful thing about this sauce is that it would pair just as well with a nice beef steak or roast as it does with venison or duck.
When I made this sauce to go with a roasted venison tenderloin, my husband declared it one of the best sauces I’ve ever made. It’s going in my recipe box, and if you like a good pan sauce with dark meat, it should go in yours. My substitutions were: 1/4 sweet onion for the shallot, since I didn’t have a shallot; Srirachi for the cayenne; and I used the regular beef stock instead of the demi-glace, which might cause it to take a wee bit longer to reduce the sauce, but not much.
A note on the currant jelly: You should be able to find it at any decent grocery store. I found it at the Towne Square Kroger store near Sam’s Club in Roanoke. It was $3.50 per jar, which is a little bit on the high side but you only use 1/4 cup and you’ll be able to find lots of recipes that call for currant jelly should you want to cook with the rest instead of spreading it on bread (which is also yummy).
1 Tbsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup Port wine
1/4 cup of the appropriate demi-glace (duck, beef, venison or vegetable) or you can use 1 cup of regular stock
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
1/4 cup red currant jelly, highbush cranberry jelly or lingonberry jelly (not jam)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. If you are going to pan-sear steaks or a whole tenderloin, melt the butter and sear the meat. Remove meat to a plate and add shallot to the remaining drippings. If you are not cooking your meat in the same pan, simply start by melting the butter and sauteing the shallot over medium-high heat, just until softened.
2. Add Port wine and use a rubber-coated whisk or a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Let liquid boil furiously until it is reduced by half.
3. Add the demi-glace (or stock), salt, citrus zest, mustard and cayenne and boil for two minutes. Stir in jelly and black pepper. Allow to boil until thick but still pourable. If desired, you may strain the sauce before serving.
Adapted from Hunter-Angler-Gardener-Cook.