Last week, in my story featuring quail, I included a recipe from Simpson's Cookery, Improved and Modernised by John Simpson (Cook), published in London in 1834. The dish was for Quails au Gratin, and the final instruction was to serve them with Gipsey Sauce. I intended to include the recipe for this sauce in the post, but it turned out, as you will see, to be rather long and involved. I also decided that the concept is worthy of a little further exploration.
First, the name of the sauce. Gipsey is quite clearly the author’s alternative spelling of gipsy or gypsy – a derogatory and now politically incorrect term for one of the Romani people. Dishes named for ‘gypsies’ were quite common in the nineteenth century, and they often incorporated implications of stolen game or eggs or suchlike, or foraged ingredients, or occasionally simple dishes cooked in one pan over a fire. An example that springs to mind is Gypsy Toast as one of the many alternative names for or French Toast or pain perdu.
John Simpson also refers to his sauce as sauce à la Bohémienne, and he also suggests it for partridges, turkey, and neck of veal. Other cookery books of the time refer to a style of cooking or a sauce à la Zingara. The word zingara (or zingano) is derived from the Italian name for a ‘gypsy,’ and one or other form of this word (cinganes, singari etc) has been attested in English since the sixteenth century.
So, without further ado, here is Gipsey Sauce, à la John Simpson.
No. 71- Gipsey Sauce.
Sweat two ounces of truffles, chopped very fine, in a glass of Madeira or sherry, with half a bay-leaf and a little garlick; fill up with brown Italian sauce (No. 68). When it has sufficiently boiled, take out the garlick and bay-leaf, skim and pass it through the cullender spoon.
No. 68. Brown Italian Sauce.
Chop an eschalot, pass it in a stewpan with a spoonful of oil or a little butter, a clove, a blade of mace, a few pepper-corns, a little ham, and a small piece of bayleaf; when fried a little, add two table-spoonfuls of mushrooms chopped very fine, which pass also a few minutes: add two ragout spoonfuls of Spanish sauce (No. 63) and one of brown consomme (No. 5). Stir the whole over the fire till it boils; draw it to the corner and let it simmer fifteen or twenty minutes; skim it and strain through a cullender spoon.
No. 63. Spanish or Brown Sauce.
Add some brown consomme (No. 5), boiling, to some brown roux (No. 42) in a stewpan; do not mix them over the fire; let them be well mixed. Put it on a brisk fire, and add brown consomme till your sauce is of the consistency of melted butter: stir without intermission; let it boil; thin it sufficiently with consomme for all the scum and fat to rise; put it on the corner of the stove to clarify, with a few mushroom trimmings, truffles if you have them, a seasoned faggot (No. 16), a few green onions and pepper-corns, a blade of mace, a little allspice, and a piece of ham. When thoroughly cleared and skimmed, strain it through a tammy into a basin, stirring occasionally till cold. This is the basis of the greater part of the brown sauces.
No. 5. Blond de Veau, or Veal Gravy, or Brown Stock.
Lay slices of York ham on the bottom of a thick stewpan, buttered, on these some pieces of veal—the chump may be used: add enough stock to moisten the meat half-way up, and let it sweat over a brisk fire. Attend closely lest it burn, and when the moisture is reduced, pierce the meat to let all the gravy run from it; reduce the liquor to a glaze, and let it stew till brown. Put your pan on red-hot ashes, to prevent its burning; stir without ceasing, to colour your glaze uniformly throughout; turning your meat from time to time, that it may not stick to the pan. Moisten with hot broth when your glaze is sufficiently coloured; it will burn if it is sticking to the stewpan when placed on the fire. Season with mushrooms, parsley, and green onions. An hour and a half's boiling will suffice. Take off the fat, as in the preceding, and strain the gravy through a silk sieve.
No. 42. Brown Roux, or Thickening.
As above, observing that you use six table-spoonfuls of flour, as it must not be so thick. Make this on a rather stronger fire, and let it take a nut brown colour very gradually: be careful that it does not burn, for the slightest, catch would cause it to be speckled with dark spots, and embitter your sauces.
No. 41. White Roux, or Thickening.
Clarify four ounces of butter, with which mix about eight table-spoonfuls of flour in a stewpan, on a slow fire; stir it well with a wooden spoon till perfectly smooth. Be particularly careful that it is not deeper coloured than cream. Place it over a dead fire a quarter of an hour, stirring occasionally; you may use it directly if wanted, or it will keep, for which purpose put it in a pot. The above, when mixed with about five pints of stock, will be of the consistence of cream.
No. 16. Faggot.
Is a bunch of parsley (the size varies of course), a bayleaf, and a sprig of thyme, tied up closely. When any thing beyond this is required, it is specified in the article.
Are you exhausted yet?