Posts Tagged ‘ham’
1 lb. lean cold boiled ham or tongue
1/4 lb. fat from ham, or 2 oz. butter
Mace or allspice (optional)
Cut a pound of the lean of cold boiled ham or tongue, and pound it in a mortar with a quarter of a pound of the fat, or with fresh butter (in the proportion of about two ounces to a pound), till it is a fine paste (some season it by degrees with a little pounded mace or allspice); put it close down in pots for that purpose, and cover it with clarified butter, a quarter of an inch thick; let it stand one night in a cool place. Send it up in the pot, or cut in thin slices.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: This is a form of preserved meat which over time evolved into that well-known form of ham spelled with an “s” in front of its name, mocked and derided by everyone from World War II soldiers to British comedy troupes to recipients of unwanted commercial email. We would be more explicit about this but do not want to arouse the ire of the wonderful, forgiving folks in the legal department of Hormel Foods.
All sorts of meats, seafoods and vegetables were preserved in potted form. The common factors were the extremely fine mincing to which the potted items were subjected, the tight packing of the resultant paste, and the use of melted butter over the top to exclude air and ensure, or at least encourage, preservation.
1 qt. old peas
1 pint water
1 slice or chunk of ham
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. butter, rolled in flour
Put into a sauce-pan a pint of water, a slice of ham, a quart of old peas and a tea-spoonful of white sugar. Cover the pan closely, and let them stew two hours, or till tender. Take out the ham, and add a bit of butter rolled in flour.
The Good Housekeeper by Sarah Josepha Hale, 1841
Comment: There are few vegetables more lovely, not to mention tasty, than a young, fresh pea straight from the pod, straight from the garden. Then again, there are few things more discouraging than rock-hard dried peas, but when that’s all that’s left in the larder late in the winter, that’s what you will be eating. If the ham is particularly fatty the butter can be reduced or omitted, particularly since you are probably not working with nasty months-old winter-hardened dried peas anyway.
1 old duck
Minced ham or salt pork
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs. catsup (type not specified)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbs. browned flour
This is a good way to treat an old and tough fowl.
Clean and divide, as you would a chicken for fricassee. Put into a saucepan, with several (minced) slices of cold ham or salt pork which is not too fat, and stew slowly for at least an hour–keeping the lid on all the while. Then stir in a large chopped onion, a half-spoonful of powdered sage, or a whole spoonful of the green leaves cut fine, half as much parsley, a tablespoonful catsup, and black pepper. Stew another half-hour, or until the duck is tender, and add a teaspoonful brown sugar, and a tablespoonful of browned flour, previously wet with cold water. Boil up once, and serve in a deep covered dish, with green peas as an accompaniment.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: While an “old duck” is called for here, these are still domestic fowl, not wild ducks, under discussion here. Keeping a backyard flock of chickens, ducks or geese was almost universal in the country, and very common even in cities until recent times. Not only did these provide people of lesser means a ready supply of eggs and meat for their own tables, by ancient tradition the proceeds gained from the sale in the market of any surplus was the rightful property of the woman of the house. “Butter and egg money” was often the only funds a woman had access to without having to go beg from her husband. Fowl intended for the table was normally killed while young and tender, but birds kept for egg-laying might last several years before winding up in the stewpot.
2 young chickens
Cold boiled ham, sliced thick
Stuffing for chickens
1 tbs. browned flour
Draw, wash and stuff a pair of young fowls, Cut enough large, thick slices of cold boiled ham to envelop these entirely, wrapping them up carefully, and winding a string about all, to prevent the ham from falling off. Put into your dripping-pan, with a little water to prevent scorching; dashing it over the meat lest it should dry and shrink. Invert a tin pan over all, and bake slowly for one hour and a quarter, if the fowls are small and tender–longer, if tough.
Lift the cover from time to time to baste with the drippings–the more frequently as time wears on. Test the tenderness of the fowls, by sticking a fork through the ham into the breast. When done, undo the strings, lay the fowls in a hot dish, and the slices of ham about them. Stir into the dripping a little chopped parsley, a tablespoonful of browned flour wet in cold water; pepper, and let boil up once. Pour some of it over the chickens–not enough to float the ham in the dish; serve the rest in a gravy-boat.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: The convoluted directions about dripping-pans, inverted tin pans, etc., reflects the fact that the majority of households still did their cooking in front of an open-fire hearth. Directions for a modern oven would just be to put this in a covered pan and bake.
As previously-cooked ham dries out with great speed, heed Mrs. Cornelius’ advice about frequent basting. The note advising placement of the meat “on a hot dish” is very common in recipes of the period. Central heating was as yet unknown, so rooms tended to be much colder in winter than is common today. Additionally, the kitchen was often some distance from the dining area so as to avoid the reverse problem of overheating in the summer.
Therefore a meat sizzling hot from the hearth but put onto a cold dish in the wintertime was apt to be barely warm before it ever reached the dining room, and stone cold by the time it got to the diners’ plates. A domed lid over the serving dishes, today considered just a sign of ostentation, was another means of dealing with this problem.