Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Choosing the Right Gravy.

The first recipe I give you today caught my eye a few weeks ago, and I have been waiting for the opportunity to share it with you. Those of you who are regular readers will know that one of my passions (both historical and actual) – is gravy. I make no apologies for this.

Please enjoy a selection of my favourites. I am sure some of them will turn out to be yours.

Gravy-Bread For Invalids.
Cut deeply into a joint of beef, or leg of mutton, while roasting; fill the opening with a thick slice of crumb of bread, and leave it there for half an hour, or till completely saturated with the gravy; then sprinkle upon it a little salt, with or without pepper, as is recommended, and serve hot.
The English cookery book, receipts collected by a committee of ladies,
and ed. by J. H. Walsh (1859)

Shalot Gravy.
Peel and slice six shalots, and put them in a small stewpan with a wineglassful of vinegar, pepper, and salt, and boil this for six minutes; then add a gill of brown gravy, and boil again for other six minutes; strain through a sieve, and use this gravy for broiled cutlets and other broiled meats.
The Cook's Guide, and Housekeeper's & Butler's Assistant (1867)
by Charles Elme Francatelli, 1867

Jus des Rognons, or, Kidney Gravy.
Strip the skin and take the fat from three fresh mutton kidneys, slice and flour them; melt two ounces of butter in a deep saucepan, and put in the kidneys, with an onion cut small, and a teaspoonful of fine herbs stripped from the stalks. Keep these well shaken over a clear fire until nearly all the moisture is dried up; then pour in a pint of boiling water, add half a teaspoonful of salt, and a little cayenne or common pepper, and let the gravy boil gently for an hour and a half, or longer, if it be not thick and rich. Strain it through a fine sieve, and take off the fat. Spice or catsup may be added at pleasure.
Mutton kidneys, 3; butter, 2 oz.; onion, 1; fine herbs, 1 teaspoonful : 1 hour. Water, 1 pint; salt, 1 teaspoonful; little cayenne, or black pepper : 1 hour.
Obs. —This is an excellent cheap gravy for haricots, curries, or hashes of mutton; it may be much improved by the addition of two or three eschalots, and a small bit or two of lean meat.
Modern Cookery, for Private Families, (1860) by Eliza Acton.

Liver Gravy.
Put the neck, liver, gizzard, and heart of a turkey or fowl into rather more than an half pint of cold water, with half a slice of toast, and a little lemon thyme, and savory. When the liver is quite tender, take it out and pound it in a mortar; let the rest stew till reduced to about one half. Strain off, put in a spoonful of mushroom catsup, and the pounded liver, well mix, strain, add a bit of butter rolled in flour, and simmer for ten minutes. If too thick, add a little boiling water, and simmer a few minutes.
Take My Advice: A Window Into the Social and Domestic Life of the Victorians,
by Charles Edward Buck, circa 1875

And my personal favorite:

Gravy to make mutton eat like venison.
Pick a very stale woodcock or snipe, cut it in pieces (but first take out the bag from the entrails), and simmer with as much unseasoned meat-gravy as you will want. Strain it, and serve in the dish.

A New System of Domestic Cookery: Formed Upon Principles of Economy and Adapted to the Use of Private Families, (1824) by Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell.

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