Friday, 8 January 2016
HFF - Meat and Potatoes
Historical Food Fortnightly is a biweekly challenge, for historical foodies. There is a different challenge or topic every two weeks, with a main criteria of being a recipe before 1960.
The first challenge is
Meat and Potatoes
My current favourite 19th century cookery book is The Cooks Own Book. It is set up like an encyclopedia and has a huge number of recipes for almost everything. I have a copy of the 1832 edition. For meat and potatoes, I chose two recipes that I had been wanting to try. I had to make a couple of substitutions due availability and dietary restrictions.
The minced beef was lean ground beef from the supermarket. Fresh parsley was not available at that time so I used a dried mixture from Sarah Hale's Early American Cookery, 1841 ed., Powder of Fine Herbs for Flavouring Soups and Sauces , when fresh herbs cannot be obtained. The bonus in this, is that the mixture includes lemon-peel. It is an amazingly tasty combination of dried herbs and has replaced my various herb combos in my pantry.
Because there is a celiac in my family, I substituted the bread crumbs in both recipes with finely ground gluten free cereal crumbs ( a cornflake type cereal)
I put about 2 lbs of ground beef into a bowl. I minced 1/2 large onion, added 1/2 cup ground cereal, several tablespoons full of Sarah Hale's herb mixture, about 1/4 tsp salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. I broke an egg (from my chickens) into a bowl and beat it lightly with a fork before adding it to the ground meat mixture. I then mixed it until thoroughly combined. I rolled it into balls. I deviated from the recipe for cooking because I already had the oven on to cook a butternut squash, so I placed the meat balls on a broiling rack, with a pan underneath to catch the drippings and baked them until done, which was about 25 minutes.
I made a simple gravy with beef stock, thickened with corn starch.
Earlier in the day, I peeled and boiled up some potatoes. When they had cooled off a bit, still warm but not hot, I mashed them with a bit of vegetable broth (dairy allergy so no cream here). I separated an egg and added the yolk and beat it in. I had made extra potatoes - cook once, eat twice- so in the end, I had to add a total of 3 yolks. The potatoes were smooth, creamy and quite rich. I beat up several eggs and laid out a dish of cereal crumbs. I rolled the potatoes into simlar sized balls as the beef balls, then rolled the potato balls in the beaten egg and then in the cereal crumbs, to create a crumb crust. I prepared these ahead of time and popped them into the oven at the same time as the beef balls.
The meal was taste tested by my family. It was Sunday dinner, so they had no choice. It was an overall success, with a request to add the potato balls to our regular meal plan. Leftovers were decent when reheated the next day, although the potato balls were a bit dry and did need the leftover gravy.
I would say this meal was a success and was fairly close to what might have been the original expectations, despite the substitutions and change in cooking method.