We now propose to give recipes and directions for the making and preparing of some of the dishes which usually form the staple of an English dinner at Christmas time.
Roast Beef—For roasting, the sirloin of beef is considered the prime joint. Before it is put upon the spit, the meat must be washed, then dried with a clean cloth ; cover the fat with a piece of white paper fastened on with string. Make up a good strong fire, with plenty of coals put on at the back. When the joint is first put down, it should be about ten inches from the fire, and then gradually drawn nearer. Baste it continually all the time it is roasting, at first with a little butter or fresh dripping, afterwards its own fat will be sufficient. About ten minutes before it is to be taken up, sprinkle over it a little salt, dredge it with flour, and baste it until it is nicely frothed. The time it will take in roasting depends upon the thickness of the piece ; a piece of sirloin weighing about fifteen pounds should be roasted for three hours and a half, while a thinner piece, though of the same weight, may be done in three hours. It must also be remembered that it takes longer to roast when newly killed than when it has been kept, and longer in cold weather than in warm.
Roast Turkey.—For preparing a turkey for cooking, be careful to remove all the plugs, and singe off the hairs. Put into the breast a stuffing made of sausage-meat, with the addition of bread-crumbs mixed together with the yolks of two eggs beaten up ; rub the whole bird with flour and set it down to roast. It should be continually basted with butter, and when nearly done, which may be known by seeing the steam drawing towards the fire, it must be dredged with flour, and again basted. Serve in a dish with gravy, garnished with sausage or forcemeat balls. Bread sauce, which is served in a sauce tureen, is eaten with it.
Plum Pudding without Eggs.—Take a table-spoonful of flour, a quarter of a pound of suet finely minced, half a pound of grated bread, about a couple of ounces of brown sugar, and half a pound of currants cleaned and dried ; a glass of brandy may, if you choose, be added. Mix the ingredients with sufficient milk to make them into a stiff batter, and boil in a cloth for four hours. With the addition of half a pound of stoned raisins and a little candied peel, the same pudding will be very niced baked.
Plum Pudding.—Take one pound of currants carefully cleaned and dried, one pound of raisins stoned and chopped, one pound of flour, one pound of beef suet finely minced, six eggs well beaten up, one ounce of candied orange-peel, half an ounce of candied lemon-peel chopped small, half a pound of brown sugar, and a teacupful of cream, the grated peel of one lemon, and half a large nutmeg grated; one glass of brandy may also be added. Mix the solid ingredients well together in the flour, adding the liquids afterwards. Tie the pudding in a cloth or mould, put it into a copper of boiling water, and keep it boiling for seven hours. When it is taken out, strew grated loaf sugar over the top, and serve. If a mould is used, it should be as deep and narrow as possible.
Another Recipe.—Half a pound of currants, half a pound of raisins stoned, three table-spoonfuls of flour, three tablespoonfuls of bread grated fine, six ounces of beef suet minced, eight eggs beaten up, five ounces of brown sugar, a small grated nutmeg, a pinch of salt, three cloves pounded, and half a teaspoonful of ground allspice; a glass of brandy may be added, if it be liked ; mix all the ingredients carefully together, and boil for three or four hours
CHRISTMAS FARE (continued from p. 304).
A Plum Pudding (economical).—Take one pound of raisins opened and stoned, six eggs, a claret-glass of rum or brandy, a quarter of a pound of minced beef suet, a pound of flour, half a pound of sugar, a teaspoonful of salt, the peel of a lemon shred fine or chopped, and a quarter of a pound of bread-crumbs. Half a pound of well-washed currants will make your pudding still better. Stir in with these as much new milk as will bring the paste to the proper consistency. Then lay a pudding-cloth in a basin, dust the inside well with flour, pour the pudding into it, tie it up with string, not too tight, leaving a little room for it to swell ; throw it into a large boiler, or small copper full of boiling water, let it boil galloping not less than four hours, though five are better. Do not turn it out of the napkin on to the dish until immediately before it is wanted, in order that it may go to table light. If sauce be required, make some melted butter, and stir into it a table-spoonful of sugar and a glass of brandy, if you like the flavour. This quantity made into two puddings, will cook more speedily and thoroughly.
A smaller Plum Pudding (reasonable).—Mix together three eggs beaten well, one teaspoonful of salt, half a pint of new milk, a quarter of a pound of chopped beef suet half a pound of raisins stoned and chopped, two ounces of well-washed currants, two ounces of powdered sugar, half a nutmeg, grated, and ten cloves, an ounce and a half of candied citron-peel ; one wine-glass of brandy is an optional addition. The quantity of flour and bread-crumbs added will depend upon the richness required in the pudding.
Family Plum-Pudding (very palatable)—from "Wholesome Fare."—Beat up four eggs well, add to them, first, half a pint of new milk and a teaspoonful of salt ; then mix in half a pound of beef suet chopped very fine, a pound of raisins stoned and chopped, a quarter of a pound of currants, a quarter of a pound of brown sugar, one nutmeg grated, one ounce of candied peel cut into thin small strips. Stir all well together, and add another half-pint of new milk ; then beat in sufficient flour to make it a stiff paste. You may add a glass of brandy and a glass of white wine. Tie it up and boil it—if in a mould or basin, five hours, if in a cloth, four ; but the pudding is better, as well as more shapely, when boiled in h mould or basin. It may be enriched by blanched almonds, and a larger proportion of currants and candied peel ; but too rich a pudding will hardly hold together, and is apt to fall to pieces when turned out on the dish. For sauce, make some good melted butter ; put in some loaf sugar, and, for those who are fond of it, a glass each of white wine and brandy, and a dessert-spoonful of noyeau or any other favourite liqueur at hand. Let it just boil up after mixing, then pour half of it over the pudding, and serve the rest in a hot sauce-boat. This pudding may be made with the grated crumb of household bread, as well as with flour. It is better so, if to be eaten cold. Plum-puddings may be made a fortnight, or even longer, before they are wanted, and, indeed, will be all the mellower for the keeping, if they be hung up in a dry place where they will not mould.
Plum Pudding with Apples.—Stone and chop fine two ounces of raisins, take four ounces of apples minced very small, four ounces of currants cleaned and dried, four ounces of grated bread, two of loaf sugar pounded, half a nutmeg grated, and a small quantity of candied orange and lemon-peel. Mix all these well together with four eggs, beaten up, and an ounce and a half of melted butter just warm.
Sauce for Plum Pudding.—Warm about two or three table-spoonfuls of sweet cream, and mix it with the yolks of two eggs, add a table-spoonful of sugar, season with grated nutmeg and stir over the fire till it is quite hot, but take care not to let it boil. For those who like it, wine, brandy, cr rum, about three table-spoonfuls of either may be added.
Mince-meat for Mince Pies.—Mix well together half a pound of raisins, stoned and chopped small; half a pound of currants washed ; half a pound of chopped beef suet ; ten or a dozen apples peeled, cored, and chopped ; a quarter of a pound of lean beef without skin or fat, boiled and chopped ; one nutmeg grated, and a teaspoonful of allspice ; a quarter or half a pound of candied peel, according to the richness desired, chopped. Put them into an earthen jar with a close-fitting cover, and pour a pint of brandy over them. Stir up these ingredients from time to time. Mince-meat is best made a fortnight or three weeks before it is wanted.
Mince Pies.—Of suet, chopped very fine and sifted, two pounds ; currants, two pounds ; raisins, one pound ; apples, two pounds ; bread, half a pound ; moist sugar, one and a quarter pounds ; red and white wine, mixed, three-quarters of a pint ; a glass of brandy (these two last according to taste) : the peel of two small lemons, and the juice of one ; four ounces of candied orange-peel, cut. Mix, with cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and salt to the taste. if preferred, omit the bread, substituting two biscuits.
Old-fashioned Mince-meat.—Take a pound of beef, a pound of apples, two pounds of suet, two pounds of sugar, two pounds of currants, one pound of candied lemon or orange-peel, a quarter of a pound of citron, and an ounce of fine spices ; mix all these together, with half an ounce of salt, and the rinds of six lemons shred fine. See that the ingredients are thoroughly incoporated, and add brandy or wine according to your taste.
Plum Porridge or Broth was the forerunner of plum pudding. It was once in great repute as a favourite Christmas dish. It must have been a complicated mixture of savoury and sweet, and was thus made in the time of Queen Anne :—Take a leg of beef and a piece of the neck, and put it into three or four gallons of water, boil it four hours, and then put in two pounds of currants, three pounds of raisins of the sun, and three pounds of stewed prunes, and let them boil one hour ; then force through a cullender two pounds of stewed prunes, grate a twopenny white loaf, mix it with some of the broth, and add to it the pulp of the prunes, one ounce of cinnamon, half • an ounce of nutmeg grated, and a quarter of an ounce of beaten cloves and mace. Put all these into the broth ; let it boil a quarter of an hour, stirring it lest it burn ; then put in a quart of claret and half a pint of sack, and sweeten it to your taste. Put in a little salt ; then have some white bread cut in dice, which put into the basin or tureen. Lay in the middle a piece of the meat, and put in the broth.
Two centuries ago every well-to-do family made a Christmas pie or shred pie, "a most learned mixture of neats' tongues, chickens, eggs, sugar, raisins, &c." They ought to be confined to the season of Christmas. No modern receipts are similar, and the less meat they contain the better. The following is a well-tried and much approved one, and has been handed down in the same family for generations :—"A pound of beef suet, chopped fine ; a pound of raisins, stoned ; a pound of currants, cleaned dry ; a pound of apples, chopped fine ; two or three eggs ; allspice, beat very fine, and sugar to your taste ; a little salt, and as much brandy and wine as you like." A small piece of citron in each pie is an improvement.
Raised Pies for Christmas.—To make the paste for raised pies, put two ounces of butter into a pint of boiling water, which mix while hot with three pounds of flour into a strong but smooth paste ; put it into a cloth to soak until nearly cold ; then knead it, and raise it to the required shape. To raise a pie well requires considerable practice. It is best done by putting one hand in the middle of the crust, and keeping the other close on the outside, till you have worked it into the round or oval shape required. The lid is then to be rolled out. For these pies, the poultry and game should be boned and highly seasoned with salt, pepper, and very little pounded mace ; the bird should then be put into a dish or raised crust, and the space round it filled with savoury forcemeat ; , butter should then be spread on the top, the cover put on, and the pie baked till done, when it should be filled up with richly-flavoured gravy and jelly. With the addition of green truffles, and the breast being lined with bacon, the above will closely resemble a Perigord pie. Raised pies should be served on a fine napkin. The top of these pies are mostly used as covers, to be taken off when brought to table, and put on when removed, so that they should be made with a knob or ornament to serve as a handle.
For a raised pork pie, make a raised crust from three to four inches high ; pare off the rind and remove the bone from a loin of pork, cut it into chops, flatten them, and season them with chopped or powdered sage, black pepper, and salt, and pack them closely into the crust ; then put on the top, and pinch the edge ; brush the crust with yolk of egg, and bake two hours in a slow oven. When done, remove the lid, pour off the fat, and add some seasoned gravy ; or the pork may be put into a dish, covered with crust, and baked ; or it may be cut into dice and seasoned. When a hog is killed, this pie may be made of the trimmings ; but there should be no bone, as the meat must be packed closely, fat and lean alternately.
For a raised ham pie, soak a small ham, boil it an hour, cut off the knuckle, then remove the rind, trim the bacon, and put it into a stewpan, with veal gravy and white wine to cover it. Simmer it till nearly done, when take it out and let it cool. Then make a raised crust, spread on it some veal forcemeat, put in the ham, and fill round it with forcemeat, cover with crust, and bake slowly about an hour. When done, remove the cover, glaze the top of the ham, and pour round it the stock the ham was stewed in, having strained and thickened it, and seasoned it with cayenne pepper.
For a raised pheasant or partridge pie, cut up two pheasants or partridges, and fry them lightly in butter with a few spoonfuls of mushrooms, truffles, parsley, and very little shalot, seasoned with pepper and salt. Then line a raised crust with veal forcemeat, to which have been added finely-chopped truffles ; put in the joints of the pheasants or partridges when cold—first the legs and rumps, next four truffles cut asunder, then the fillets and breasts, and more truffles—add the seasoning in which the birds were fried, and cover with slices of fat bacon and paste. Bake the pie in a quick oven an hour and a half, and when done remove the cover and skim off the fat, and pour in brown sauce, with finely-minced truffles. and serve without the cover.
For hare pie, cold, cut up the hare, season it with pepper and salt ; prepare a forcemeat with the parboiled liver of the hare, shred bacon, minced sweet herbs, onion, pepper, and mace. Make it into balls, which lay with sliced hard-boiled egg-yolks between the joints of the hare. Bake it in a dish or raised crust, and when cold fill up with savoury jelly.
For pigeon pie, stuff four or six pigeons with a forcemeat of parsley, bread-crumbs, and butter, seasoned with pepper and salt. Lay them in the dish breast downwards, upon a rump-steak, adding the yolks of four or six hard-boiled eggs and a gill of water. Lay on the top another steak, cover with puff-paste, brush it over with the yolk of egg, and put in the centre of it three neatly-trimmed feet of the pigeons, or one foot on each side. Bake about an hour. Or the stuffing may be omitted, and the pigeons cut in halves.
Mince-meat.—Take four pounds of raisins, stoned, and four pounds of currants, washed clean, four pounds of apples, six pounds of suet, and half a fresh ox-tongue, boiled, half a pound of candied orange-peel, ditto candied lemon, and a quarter of a pound of citron, all chopped ; the juice of three oranges and three lemons, with the peel of two grated; half a pound of moist sugar, two glasses of brandy, two of sherry, one nutmeg grated, a spoonful of pounded cinnamon, and half an ounce of salt. Mix all these well together, put the whole into jars, and keep it tied over with bladder. A little of this mixture baked in tart-pans with puff-paste forms mince-pies. Or peel, core, and chop finely a pound of sound russet apples, wash and pick a pound and a half of currants, stone half a pound of raisins, and let both these be chopped small. Then take away the skin and gristle from a pound of roast beef, and carefully pick a pound of beef suet ; chop these well together. Cut into small pieces three-quarters of a pound of mixed candied orange, citron, and lemon peel; let all these be well stirred together in a large pan. Beat or grind into powder a nutmeg, half an ounce of ginger, and a quarter of an ounce of cloves, the same of allspice and coriander seeds ; add half an ounce of salt, and put these into the pan, mixing them thoroughly. Grate the rinds of three lemons, and squeeze the juice over half a pound of fine Lisbon sugar, mixed with the lemon peel; pour over this two gills of brandy and half a pint of sherry. Let these ingredients be well stirred, then cover the pan with a slate ; and when about to use the mince-meat take it from the bottom of the pan. Or, to make mince-pies without meat, carefully prepare as before directed a pound and a half of fresh beef suet, and chop it as small as possible; stone and chop a pound and a half of Smyrna raisins; well wash and dry on a coarse cloth two pounds of currants ; peel, core, and cut small three pounds of russet apples ; add a quarter of an ounce of mixed cinnamon and mace in powder, four cloves powdered, a pound and a half of powdered sugar, a teaspoonful of salt, the juice of a lemon and its peel finely grated, and a tablespoonful of mixed candied fruit cut very small. Let all the above be well mixed together, and remain in the pan a few days. When you are about to make mince-pies, throw a gill of brandy and the same of port wine into the pan, and stir together the mince. Line the required number of patty-pans with properly-made paste ; fill from the bottom of the pan, cover, and bake quickly.
Lemon Mince-meat is made as follows :—Peel thinly two lemons, and boil the peels till tender enough to be beaten into a paste; to which add four sharp apples, peeled and chopped, half a pound of chopped suet, one pound of currants, and half a pound of good moist sugar. Mix the whole well together, adding the juice of two lemons, and two ounces of candied orange, lemon, and citron peel, cut small