Posts Tagged ‘pork’
1 leg of pork
1/2 c. boiling water
Juice of 1 lemon
One [leg] weighing about seven pounds is enough, even for a large family. If the pig is young, the leg will be even smaller. Score the skin in squares, or parallel lines running from side to side, for the convenience of the carver. Put it down to roast with a very little water in the pan below. Heat gradually until the fat begins to ooze from the meat, when quicken the fire to a red, steady glow. Baste only with its own gravy, and do this often, that the skin may not be hard or tough. When done take it up, skim the gravy thoroughly, put in half a cup of boiling water, thicken with brown flour, add pepper, salt, and the juice of a lemon, and serve in a boat.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Whole legs of pork are rarely found in most supermarkets today, but if you have access to a custom butcher or some other method of obtaining one, this recipe calls for no modification at all. Of course it was intended to be cooked over a wood fire, which can easily be constructed in such a way as to provide higher heat to the larger upper portion of the leg so as to avoid overcooking the skinnier lower parts, but this can be achieved in a modern oven or barbeque grill with the judicious deployment of tinfoil.
Cut the slices very thinly across the grain, dust on, if not sufficiently salt, a trifle of fine salt on each slice as it is cut; if for breakfast or dinner, serve with it hot slaw and mashed potatoes.
The Housekeeper’s Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, New York 1861.
Comment: Leftovers are always a challenge, aren’t they? We see here that the problem is hardly new. As pork was normally salted for preservation purposes in the 19th century, it is unlikely that any more salt would be needed, but with modern refrigeration making fresh pork a year-round item, use your own judgment in the matter.
We do have to say we find the prospect of hot slaw, or for that matter any cabbage product, for breakfast a somewhat daunting proposition. Mashed potatoes however, if flattened and fried a bit, would not be that unusual for people accustomed to eating hash browns at the morning meal. Breakfasts were substantial meals for people who walked almost everywhere they went and engaged in heavy physical labor much of the time just to get through a normal day’s activities besides.
1 quarter of a young pig
Salt and pepper
Take either a hind or fore quarter, rub it well with salt, pepper, and a small portion of molasses, and if practicable, let it lie for a few hours; then rinse it clean, and wipe it dry with a cloth, and place it on a large gridiron, over a bed of clear coals. Do not barbecue it hastily, but let it cook slowly for several hours, turning it over occasionally, and basting it with nothing but a little salt-water and pepper, merely to season and moisten it a little. When it is well done, serve it without a garnish, and having the skin taken off, which should be done before it is put down to roast, squeeze over it a little lemon juice, and accompany it with melted butter and wine, bread sauce, raw sallad, slaugh, or cucumbers, and stewed fruit. Beef may be barbecued in the same manner.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Mrs. Lettice Bryan, Cincinnati, 1838.
Comment: We apologize to readers who came here with great enthusiasm to find the “original, real, Civil War-period-authentic” barbecue sauce. Turns out…there isn’t one. Aside from the molasses (which you are even supposed to wash off before starting to cook, probably a good idea since the sugars would likely burn black during the cooking time required) and the water, salt and pepper used for basting, this us just spit-roasted young pork.
Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. But the Great Debate between the propriety of tomato- versus vinegar-based barbecue sauce began in later years than the ones we examine here. Eat what you like and save the battles for the reenacting fields.
Oh, and that is indeed the way Mrs. Bryan spelled “sallad” and “slaugh.” And “barbecue” for that matter. We make enough typos on our own to want to take credit for any in the recipes we reproduce here. Standardized spelling came in later years too. At least this recipe does not require any “yelks” of eggs or drainage in a “cullender.”
1 spare-rib of pork
Sage leaves, powdered
A bacon spare-rib usually weighs about eight or nine pounds, and will take from two to three hours to roast it thoroughly; not exactly according to its weight, but the thickness of the meat upon it, which varies very much. Lay the thick end nearest to the fire.
A proper bald spare-rib of eight pounds weight (so called because almost all the meat is pared off), with a steady fire, will be done in an hour and a quarter. There is so little meat on a bald spare-rib, that if you have a large, fierce fire, it will be burned before it is warm through. Joint it nicely, and crack the ribs across as you do ribs of lamb.
When you put it down to roast, dust on some flour, and baste it with a little butter; dry a dozen sage leaves, and rub them through a hair-sieve, and put them into the top of a pepper-box; and about a quarter of an hour before the meat is done, baste it with butter; dust the pulverized sage over it.
–Make it a general rule never to pour gravy over any thing that is roasted; by so doing, the dredging, &c., is washed off, and it eats insipid.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: This recipe clearly dates to the days of cooking over a kitchen hearth, essentially a large open fireplace. A whole range of implements, usually of cast iron, were required to hold the food in place, keep it the proper distance from the heat at each stage of cooking, and also to rotate it in such a way as to expose all surfaces of the meat to the flames. The technique of “dredging” is almost universal with hearth-roasted meats but we (never having tried it) are unsure as to exactly how it works–it would seem that the fat and other juices dripping off the roast would carry the dredging material, be it flour or spices, off into the drip pan with it. If we ever get a house big enough to hold a fireplace big enough to try this in, we’ll let you know. But however you do it, may your roasts never be insipid!
8 lb. fresh pork
4 tsp. black pepper
4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cloves or mace
8 tsp. sage, sweet marjoram, and thyme, mixed
1 teacup bread-crumbs (about 3/4 c.)
Lay the meat, which should be young pork, in a brine of salt and water, with a tablespoonful of saltpetre, and leave it for three days. Dry and mince it, season, and add the grated bread. Stuff in skins, and bake, closely covered, in an oven for half an hour. Or, what is better, steam over boiling water for one hour.
Eat either hot or cold.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: These are clearly fresh pork sausages, which were somewhat uncommon as such items were normally intended to be salted, smoked or both for long storage to eat in the wintertime.
The curious part, of course, is the name. The dish is English, we are told, and the name may come from the French. According to Wikipedia, “A saveloy is a very vividly red sausage served in southern English fish and chip shops, and also in takeaways in parts of Australia. It is made of pork and is highly seasoned. The name supposedly comes from the French word cervelas, a pork sausage, sometimes made of pig’s brains. The taste is similar to frankfurters… There is a reference in the musical “Oliver!” by Lionel Bart. In the song “Food, Glorious Food” workhouse boys sing rapturously of “peas, pudding and saveloys”.
Based on that entry, Mrs. Harland’s version seems to be a very mild, indeed somewhat wimpy, version of the dish. The stereotype that Americans are too timid to enjoy robustly spiced foods seems to be a very persistent one.
3 tsp. powdered sage
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 lb pork
Chop meat into cubes and mix spices through it well. Grind to desired fineness. Can be formed into patties to eat immediately, or stuffed into casings for later use. Keep in cool room or smokehouse.
An American Frugal Housewife by Mrs. Lydia Child. 1833
Comment: Mrs. Child is one of the few authors of the period to write her recipes in what is thought of as the “modern” manner, with ingredients noted off in order at the beginning and the body of the recipe then describing how they were to be treated. As the title of her book suggests she was not one to call for long lists of ingredients just for the sake of excess. This recipe is particularly popular with reenactors and those who pack their own period food for use at living history and similar events.