Monday, May 11, 2009

Seven Days with a Leg of Mutton.

About twelve months ago we had a story about Caroline Chisholm, the English gentlewoman turned social activist who became ‘the emigrants’ friend’ in mid-nineteenth century Sydney, Australia. In one of her tracts she gave some suggestions for cooking and serving the staple salted beef every day of the week. Back ‘home’ the concept of creating multiple meals from one joint of meat was not new, and today I give you one formula for managing this with a leg of mutton. Remember, this was in the days well before domestic refrigeration.

From: The English cookery book: Uniting Good Style with Economy, and Adapted to all Persons in Every Clime; Containing Many Unpublished Receipts in Daily Use by Private Families. Collected by a Committee of Ladies, and Edited by J.H. Walsh, F.R.C.S, Author of “A Manual of Domestic Economy” 1859

When a smaller family than the above requires a very economical fare, the case is still more difficult, because less variety can be obtained from those joints which are well known to be the only really economical ones. Nevertheless, a good deal may be done by management; and even in the case of a leg of mutton, the dinners for a whole week may be obtained from it without having any two exactly alike, and without extra cost in any way. The following is the method proposed, which may be often useful to a married couple without children or servant, or to two sisters living by themselves.

1st Day- Cut some steaks off the large end and broil them.
2nd Day – Cut off a small knuckle and boil it, to be served with caper or nasturtium sauce.
3rd Day – Cut some cutlets off the side next the knuckle, and fry with egg and breadcrumbs.
4th Day – Bone and stuff the fillet, which is to be roasted.
5th Day – Hash part of the remainder.
6th Day – Eat part cold, with salad.
7th Day – Mince the remainder, and cover with breadcrumbs. See par. 531

Caper sauce is a very old traditional accompaniment to mutton, and I refer you back to a previous story for a recipe. The nasturtium alternative is tomorrow’s story!

Here is the par. 531 recipe for day seven, from The English cookery book.

Minced Beef Or Mutton.
531. Make a gravy according to par. 282; thicken it with flour or arrowroot, which is still better), then add to it the minced-up beef and warm it. In warming up any meats in this way, they should be done in a stewpan on a hot-plate, or in a water-bath, commonly called a bain-marie, as it is owing to boiling hashes or minces that they get hard. All sorts of stews, or meat dressed a second time, should be only gently simmered, and that for a short time only, so as to be just warmed through. After mincing the beef with some of the fat, season it and add boiled carrots, with a little onion or shalot chopped fine. Have a small hot dish with sippets of bread ready, and pour the mince into it, but first mix a large spoonful of vinegar with ir; if shalot vinegar is used as a seasoning, there will be no need of the onion or the raw shalot.

Cullis or Brown Gravy.
282. Lay over the bottom of a stewpan as much lean veal as will cover it an inch thick ; then cover the veal with thin slices of undressed gammon, two or three onions, two or three bay-leaves, some sweet-herbs, two blades of mace, and three cloves ; cover the stewpan, and set it over a slow fire; but when the juices come out let the fire be a little quicker; when the meat is of a fine brown, fill the pan with good beef-broth; boil and skim it, then simmer an hour, and add a little water, mixed with as much flour as will make it properly thick; boil it half an hour, and strain it. This will keep for a week.

Quotation for the Day.

It's nice to eat a good hunk of beef but you want a light dessert, too.
Arthur Fiedler.

1 comment:

Shay said...

Eating mutton for seven days in a row would turn me vegetarian.