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Orange Sauce

Sauces and Spicery

Although oranges have only rarely been grown in England, orange sauce, especially as an accompaniment to light meats such as poultry or veal, is known at least since the 17th Century.

There is a curious story that roast veal in Orange Sauce was Oliver Cromwell's favourite dish, and that when no oranges were available, his wife Elizabeth used beans instead, saying something along the lines of "You should have thought about orange sauce before you declared war on Spain." This tale is told at Cromwell's House in Ely, in 'Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine' by William Carew Hazlitt (1902) and may originate in a spurious little cookbook titled 'The Court and Kitchin of Elizabeth, Commonly Called Joan Cromwel, the Wife of the late Usurper, Truly Described and Represented' published in 1664.

Original Receipt in 'The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined' by John Mollard, 1802 (Mollard 1802)


Squeeze the juice of a China orange into a stewpan. Boil half the peel till tender, rub it through a hair-sieve, and add it to the juice with a gill of cullis, and an anchovy rubbed through a sieve. Season with a little Cayenne pepper, and make it boil.

Original Receipt from 'Pot-luck; or, The British home cookery book' by May Byron (Byron 1914)

401. ORANGE SAUCE (Sussex)

The unexpected virtues of orange sauce were first appreciated by a Patagonian explorer, who, left stranded with his only remaining stores, a Westphalian ham and a few oranges, concocted a sauce with the fruit which proved a most ideal accompaniment to the ham. It improves the flavour of wild duck, of goose, turkey, and saddle of mutton; and is a first-rate sauce with plum-pudding, while in America they use it as a wholesome adjunct to stewed raisins, prunes, and stewed grapes, both as a breakfast and a luncheon dish.

To make orange sauce, mix one level tablespoonful of flour with half a cupful of sugar. Add at once half a pint of quite boiling water, and the grated rind of half an orange. Stir and boil four minutes, and add the juice of an orange, and a large dessertspoonful of butter, and pour while hot over a well-beaten egg. This will be only sufficient for four persons. The sauce, poured over apple pudding, apple pie, or stewed apples, gives a pineapple flavour to the whole.

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