Monday, March 2, 2009

Cumberland Sauce & Groundhogs

Where's that damn groundhog? I knows he's out here somewhere. That little SOB sticks his head out of a hole, sees his shadow and we're stuck with 6 more years of winter. OK, maybe it's only six more weeks, but at this point, it feels like years.

Since when did we become a rodent based meteorological society?

Isn't it bad enough we have to watch talking heads tell us there's a 50-50 chance of rain in two weeks? Apparently not. Instead we resort to watching middle-aged, overweight men in Pennsylvania molest sleeping woodland creatures to get our long term weather updates.

The biggest problem is that it seems to have worked this year. Winter won't let go. As I type this, it's the beginning of March, there's six inches of fresh snow in New York, and possibly 12 inches falling in Boston. March, in like a lion, out like a lamb. More feral-infused forecasting. I blame Disney.

Well there's only one thing to do. Eat the little buggers.

A few weeks ago ButterBoyC called saying he had some smoked pheasant breasts that he wanted to serve as an appetizer, and did I have any ideas on how to present them? BBC had come to the right place. I don't know if pheasant have any particular proclivity for projecting blizzards or hurricanes, but I certainly have an aptitude for making meals out of them.

Strong flavored meat like venison, duck and lamb, work well with fruit based sauces. Furthermore, fruit sauces go exceptionally well with the fuller flavors of smoked meats. So today I'm going to show you how to make Cumberland Sauce. It's really easy and you can use it on chicken if you're squeamish about game meats. The only work in this recipe is chopping a shallot and grating the rind off a lemon and an orange. The rest is measuring, melting and stirring, so let's all enjoy...

Cumberland Sauce
from Sauces by James Peterson and tweaked by Crabby

1 cup red currant jelly
1 TBSP chopped shallots
1 TBSP grated orange zest
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
1/3 cup red wine or port
1/3 cup orange juice
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients except the salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Season with salt if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

This sauce will keep, refrigerated, for at least two weeks.

Another easy recipe for my crablings. Sauces make the mundane interesting. They also give meals a back-to-nature twist.

Well, I'm off to find that lousy groundhog and kick his furry rear-end. Spring's got to be around here somewhere. Until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.

1 comment:

WineWizardBob said...

Cumberland Rhode Island or Cumberland Gap or some place else?

This sweet and savory sauce masks/enhances the flavor of game. The sauce is too sweet for most European wines, but shows well with Californian Pinot Noir.

I must admit I have never had this sauce with groundhog, but I have had it with venison and it was delicious.

Back to snow shoveling. ARGH