Photo by Carol Sullivan
BY LAURA SORKIN
Cumberland Sauce is a traditional condiment made with port wine and black or red currant jelly. Created in the 19th century, and purportedly named after the Duke of Cumberland, it is used to balance the rich flavor of game meat. Though Cumberland Sauce is definitively English, the French adopted it to serve alongside some of their rich meals such as pâté en croûte. This recipe steers it back to the English side while still giving credit to the French for a very good idea; the sauce is perfect served with a meat pie. These would be perfect as finger food at a party since they are best served at room temperature
You can use store-bought jelly or syrup or make your own by simmering one part fresh currants to one part sugar for 10 minutes and then straining out the solids.
⅓ cup currant jelly or syrup
½ cup port
3 tablespoons shallots, chopped fine
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of salt
12 ounces uncooked, uncased pork sausage
1 package prepared piecrust or recipe for two homemade crusts
Preheat oven to 375°. Remove the rind (colored part only) from the orange and lemon and cut the rind into fine julienne. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch the rind for 1 minute and then drain. Juice the whole orange and half the lemon and then set the juice and rind aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan bring the port, currant jelly/syrup and shallots to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the lemon and orange juice and the blanched rinds. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens a bit (about 8 more minutes). Add the mustard, ginger and salt, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
For the meat pies, use a 3½-inch pastry ring to cut circles out of the pie dough. You should be able to get eight circles from each side for a total of 16 circles. Place eight circles on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush lightly with egg wash. Place a spoonful (roughly 2 tablespoons) of sausage in the middle of the dough. Place another circle on top and gently press the two sides together. When they are all formed, using a knife, put a small hole in the top of each pie to let steam escape. Brush with additional egg wash on top.
Place the pies in the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 375°. Lower the heat to 350° and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve pies and Cumberland Sauce at room temperature.