In the recipe for Beef Tea Ice-cream which I posted the other day, the beef tea itself was made in a stone jar set in a pot of boiling water. Before electric slow-cookers, this was also a great way to cook things like chutneys, sauces and conserves which need to slowly thicken by evaporation, but are in danger of burning if put directly on a low flame (see links below for examples.)
This method of cooking is called ‘jugging.’ The Oxford English Dictionary definition is interesting as it is more specific. It says that ‘to jug’ is ‘to stew or boil in a jug or jar (esp. a hare or rabbit)’. In yet another common interpretation, ‘jugging’ refers specifically to cooking the hare or rabbit in its own blood – resulting in a dish which in the classic French tradition is called a civet.
I give you the earliest recipe I know for ‘Jugged Hare’. It is from Hannah Glasse’s Art of Cookery (1747)
A Jugged Hare.
Cut it to Pieces, lard them here and there and with little slips of bacon, season them with a very little pepper and salt, put them into a earthen jugg, with a blade or two of mace, an onion stuck with cloves, and a bundle of sweet-herbs; cover the jar you do it in so close, that nothing can get in, then set it in a pot of boiling water, keep the water boiling, and three hours will do it; then turn it out into the dish, and take out the onion and sweet herbs, and send it to the table hot. If you don’t like it larded, leave it out.
As an interesting aside, the OED also gives one definition of ‘jug’ as: “the sleeping place of partridges, where they ‘jug’ or nest together’”. I guess this would give an added poignancy to using a brace of the birds to make Jugged Partridges. The dictionary also defines ‘a jug’ ‘a savoury Barbadian dish served esp. at Christmas.’ I am profoundly ignorant of this dish, and sincerely hope one of you can enlighten me.
Quotation for the Day.
Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate, from the world, and have a harmony of aspiration.
Charles Dudley Warner