Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leftover Gingersnaps.

I have no idea where I got the following recipe from, but it has intrigued me for a long time.

Sweet sour sauce for boiled tongue.
5 gingersnaps
½ cup brown sugar
4 tab vinegar
1 cup hot water
1 lemon, sliced
¼ cup raisins
Crush the gingersnaps, and mix with the sugar, vinegar, and hot water. Cook until well blended and smooth.
Add the lemon and raisins.
Serve over sliced tongue.

Gingersnaps? In sauce? Interesting. If anyone has any ideas of its history, I would be most grateful. In the meantime, it is probably eligible for the Through the Ages with Gingerbread archive, is it not?

At least it sounds more interesting than this sauce, from the famous Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1896)

Sauce for Tongue.
Brown one-fourth cup butter, add one-fourth cup flour and stir together till well browned. Add gradually four cups of water in which tongue was cooked. Season with salt and pepper and add one teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. One and one-half cups stewed and strained tomatoes may be used in place of some of the water.

Of course, it is likely that these recipes are of no practical significance for you, as tongue, like most other offal, is sadly out of fashion today. Once upon a time, no self-respecting luncheon sideboard would be without a platter of cold tongue. For old time’s sake, here is a recipe from one of the nineteenth century masters.

Beef’s Tongue with Sauce haché.
Take a tongue that is quite fresh; let it disgorge, blanch it to take away any tripy taste it may have retained; then stew it in a good braize. When done, flay it, cut it in two, spread it open and mask or cover thickly over with the sauce haché. This is but a very common entrée.

The Sauce Haché, or Minced Sauce.
This sauce, although seldom or ever used in good cookery, is frequently to be met with at taverns and inns on the road. Such as it is , it is made in the following way. Chop gherkins, mushrooms, capers, and anchovies, and throw them in some brown Italian sauce, which is called a sauce haché, or minced sauce. The reason that I have called this a tavern or common inn sauce is because, to make it, it is not requisite to have an Italian sauce well prepared. A common browning made with butter and flour, moistened with a little broth, or gravy, and some fine herbs in it, will answer the purpose.

The French Cook, by Louis Eustache Ude, 1829

Quotation for the Day.

Make not the sauce till you have caught the fish.
English Proverb.


srhcb said...

Here's a Jeff Smith recipe for roast beef with gingersnap sauce: http://tinyurl.com/yhd42g7

Shay said...

I can't produce a source recipe, but I believe gingersnaps are mandatory ingredient in authentic Sauerbraten.

Piet said...

That sounds like a German sauce. My grandmother's sauerbraten was made with crushed gingersnaps as both a thickener and a seasoning ingredient. Really old recipes for sauerbraten use breadcrumbs and grated or powdered ginger plus a little more brown sugar. I think the crushed gingersnaps took over as a timesaver around 1900 when the commercial cookie began to be more widely available.

laura said...

My grandmother used to make a pot roast (not tongue) with a sweet sour sauce that had gingersnaps in it. Sort of like a sauerbratten. Have no idea where she got the recipe from (back of the box? her german step mother?), but I loved it as a child.

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks everyone - seems like sauerbraten is regularly served with gingersnap sauce - how fascinating!

The Old Foodie said...

An email correspondent suggests that this is an American tradition - with the well-known Fannie Farmer providing a recipe. A German-American tradition it seems?

Petra said...

Gingersnaps and other spicy cookies are called Lebkuchen in German. They were or are not only used for Sauerbraten but for different dishes, especially in the North of Germany and in Prussia. The people there like a sweet-sour taste. I have also an old recipe for fish in malt beer with Lebkuchen which is called "Karpfen polnisch" (carp of Poland). There is one special kind of these cookies especially for sauces which does not contain sugar; I think these cookies are still available in some regions in Germany.

Shay said...

Possibly. Generations of young American women learned to cook from Irma Rombauer's book The Joy of Cooking which I think was first printed during the Depression and is still going strong today.

(My personal favorite edition is the one from 1954 in which oppossum is listed in the index right after opera creams).

Mrs. Rombauer was a St Louis German, I believe. The state of Missourri was so thickly settled with German immigrants after the Revolution of 1848 that during the American Civil War, an entire Union Army Corps, the Xth, was German-speaking. There is a story that Abraham Lincoln was given a list of candidates for promotion to brigadier and selected, among others, a man named Schimmelpfennig. When it was pointed out to him that there were other officers ahead of Schimmelpfennig on in terms of seniority and merit, Lincoln replied, "Yes, but the name is worth ten thousand votes in Missouri alone!"