icon Rack of Venison With Cumberland Sauce
from Gourmet Magazine

Cumberland sauce is a fruit-based sauce for game, ham or lamb. The sauce is known as a typical English condiment, although it was created in Hanover in Germany, sometime in the late 19th century for the Duke of Cumberland. Many variations exist, but the basic ingredients are red currants or cranberries, port or wine, mustard, pepper, orange, ginger and vinegar.


  • 1 small lemon, washed
  • 1 small orange, washed
  • 3/4 cup good-quality Port
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp shallot, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp red currant preserves or jelly
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Two 4-rib racks of venison or one 8-rib rack, halved
    (about 2 1/2 pounds), frenched, and trimmed of all fat and silver skin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
  • 3 tbsp Beef Stock or canned beef broth


Venison tenderloin:
  1. Remove all the zest from the lemon, and half the orange skins, working in strips from top to bottom and taking care not to include the white pith underneath. Cut the zest lengthwise into the thinnest possible matchsticks. Put in a small metal sieve.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Submerge the zest in the sieve in the water for 1 minute. Remove and rinse under cool running water. Repeat twice more. Pat the zest dry and set aside.
  3. Cut and squeeze the lemon to yield 1 tablespoon of juice. Cut and squeeze the orange to yield 6 tablespoons of juice. Set the juice aside.
  4. In a small sauté pan, bring the Port, vinegar and shallot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the red currant preserves, ginger, mustard, and a pinch of salt, whisking until the preserves begin to bubble. Add the citrus zests and whisk in the citrus juices. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens a bit and is lightly syrupy, 5 to 6 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 deg F.
  6. Generously season the venison with salt all over. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Cook the venison racks, turning them with tongs, until deeply browned around their circumference, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast to the desired doneness, 15 to 18 minutes for medium-rare, or when an instant-read thermometer registers 125 deg F After 12 minutes, carefully transfer the skillet to the stove top and add the garlic, thyme sprigs, and 4 tbsp of the butter, tilting the pan to let the ingredients mix. Baste the meat with the butter for 30 seconds. Turn the racks over, baste again, and return to the oven to finish roasting. When done, baste the meat once more and transferthe venison to a cutting board.Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Return the sauce to a simmer and whisk in the stock and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Remove from the heat and keep warm on the stove top. It will thicken a bit as it cools.
  9. Cut the venison into 8 equal chops. Place 2 chops attractively on each plate, spoon the sauce over each, and serve.
  10. YIELD: Serves 4


Side dish ideas:

  • Walnut risotto
  • Mushroom risotto
  • Fried polenta
  • Mash potatoes
  • Gnocchi
  • Krokety
  • Small potato pancakes
  • Small mushroom omelettes
  • Red kraut
  • Cranberries on a lemon wheel, whipped cream...
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    Last updated: October 12, 2010
    Photograph from Wikimedia Commons used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.