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Sauces and Spicery

A pouring sauce made from the fat and juices which exude from meat in cooking, thickened slightly if need be, as a dressing for the meat. That the chief sauce is made from simple meat juices is very much in keeping with the unadorned style of preparation which is the mark of English Cooking.

Known at least since 'The Forme of Cury' By the Chief Master-Cook of King Richard II, c1390 (Cury 1390) as 'Gravey'. Early spellings include gravey, greve, grovy, greavie, greavy, graivie.

Original Receipt in 'The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined' by John Mollard, 1802 (Mollard 1802)

Cullis, or a thick Gravy.

TAKE slices of ham, veal, celery, carrots, turnips, onions, leeks, a small bunch of sweet herbs, some allspice, black pepper, mace, a piece of lemon-peel, and two bay leaves; put them into a pan with a quart of water, and draw them down till of a light brown colour, but be careful not to let it burn; then discharge it with beef stock. When it boils, skim it very clean from fat, and thicken it with flour and water, or flour and butter passed. Let it boil gently three quarters of an hour; season it to the palate with cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and salt; strain it through a tamis cloth or sieve, and add a little liquid of colour, which may be made as in the following receipt.

Liquid of Colour for Sauces, &c.

PUT a quarter of a pound of the best brown sugar into a frying pan very clean from grease, and half a gill of water; set it over a gentle fire, stirring it with a wooden spoon till it is thoroughly burnt and of a good bright colour, then discharge it with water; when it boils skim it and strain it. Put it by for use in a vessel close covered.

Gravy is very important in England, and Mrs Beeton has a lot to say about it...

Original Receipt in 'The Book of Household Management' edited by Isabella Beeton, 1861 (See Mrs.B)

432. Either of the stocks, Nos. 104, 105, or 107, will be found to answer very well for the basis of many gravies, unless these are wanted very rich indeed. By the addition of various store sauces, thickening and flavouring, the stocks here referred to may be converted into very good gravies. It should be borne in mind, however, that the goodness and strength of spices, wines, flavourings, &c., evaporate, and that they lose a great deal of their fragrance, if added to the gravy a long time before they are wanted. If this point is attended to, a saving of one half the quantity of these ingredients will be effected, as, with long boiling, the flavour almost entirely passes away. The shank-bones of mutton, previously well soaked, will be found a great assistance in enriching gravies; a kidney or melt, beef skirt, trimmings of meat, &c. &c., answer very well when only a small quantity is wanted, and, as we have before observed, a good gravy need not necessarily be so very expensive; for economically-prepared dishes are oftentimes found as savoury and wholesome as dearer ones. The cook should also remember that the fragrance of gravies should not be overpowered by too much spice, or any strong essences, and that they should always be warmed in a bain marie, after they are flavoured, or else in a jar or jug placed in a saucepan full of boiling water. The remains of roast-meat gravy should always be saved; as, when no meat is at hand, a very nice gravy in haste may be made from it, and when added to hashes, ragoûts, &c., is a great improvement.

GRAVY-KETTLE. - This is a utensil which will not be found in every kitchen; but it is a useful one where it is necessary to keep gravies hot for the purpose of pouring over various dishes as they are cooking. It is made of copper, and should, consequently, be heated over the hot plate, if there be one, or a charcoal stove. The price at which it can be purchased is set down by Messrs. Slack at 14s.

433. INGREDIENTS. - Gravy, salt.
Mode. - Put a common dish with a small quantity of salt in it under the meat, about a quarter of an hour before it is removed from the fire. When the dish is full, take it away, baste the meat, and pour the gravy into the dish on which the joint is to be served.

SAUCES AND GRAVIES IN THE MIDDLE AGES. - Neither poultry, butcher's meat, nor roast game were eaten dry in the middle ages, any more than fried fish is now. Different sauces, each having its own peculiar flavour, were served with all these dishes, and even with the various parts of each animal. Strange and grotesque sauces, as, for example, "eggs cooked on the spit," "butter fried and roasted," were invented by the cooks of those days; but these preparations had hardly any other merit than that of being surprising and difficult to make.

434. INGREDIENTS. - 1/2 lb. of shin of beef, 1/2 onion, 1/4 carrot, 2 or 3 sprigs of parsley and savoury herbs, a piece of butter about the size of a walnut; cayenne and mace to taste, 3/4 pint of water.
Mode. - Cut up the meat into very small pieces, slice the onion and carrot, and put them into a small saucepan with the butter. Keep stirring over a sharp fire until they have taken a little colour, when add the water and the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1/2 hour, skim well, strain, and flavour, when it will be ready for use.
Time. - 1/2 hour. Average cost, for this quantity, 5d.

A HUNDRED DIFFERENT DISHES. - Modern housewives know pretty well how much care, and attention, and foresight are necessary in order to serve well a little dinner for six or eight persons, - a dinner which will give credit to the menage, and satisfaction and pleasure to the guests. A quickly-made gravy, under some circumstances that we have known occur, will be useful to many housekeepers when they have not much time for preparation. But, talking of speed, and time, and preparation, what a combination of all these must have been necessary for the feast at the wedding of Charles VI. of France. On that occasion, as Froissart the chronicler tells us, the art of cooking, with its innumerable paraphernalia of sauces, with gravy, pepper, cinnamon, garlic, scallion, brains, gravy soups, milk potage, and ragoûts, had a signal triumph. The skilful chef-de-cuisine of the royal household covered the great marble table of the regal palace with no less than a hundred different dishes, prepared in a hundred different ways.


435. INGREDIENTS. - 1/2 lb. of lean beef, 1/2 pint of cold water, 1 shalot or small onion, 1/2 a teaspoonful of salt, a little pepper, 1 tablespoonful of Harvey's sauce or mushroom ketchup, 1/2 a teaspoonful of arrowroot.
Mode. - Cut up the beef into small pieces, and put it, with the water, into a stewpan. Add the shalot and seasoning, and simmer gently for 3 hours, taking care that it does not boil fast. A short time before it is required, take the arrowroot, and having mixed it with a little cold water, pour it into the gravy, which keep stirring, adding the Harvey's sauce, and just letting it boil. Strain off the gravy in a tureen, and serve very hot.
Time. - 3 hours. Average cost, 8d. per pint.

436. INGREDIENTS. - 2 oz. of butter, 2 large onions, 2 lbs. of shin of beef, 2 small slices of lean bacon (if at hand), salt and whole pepper to taste, 3 cloves, 2 quarts of water. For thickening, 2 oz. of butter, 3 oz. of flour.
Mode. - Put the butter into a stewpan; set this on the fire, throw in the onions cut in rings, and fry them a light brown; then add the beef and bacon, which should be cut into small square pieces; season, and pour in a teacupful of water; let it boil for about ten minutes, or until it is of a nice brown colour, occasionally stirring the contents. Now fill up with water in the above proportion; let it boil up, when draw it to the side of the fire to simmer very gently for 1-1/2 hour; strain, and when cold, take off all the fat. In thickening this gravy, melt 3 oz. of butter in a stewpan, add 2 oz. of flour, and stir till of a light-brown colour; when cold, add it to the strained gravy, and boil it up quickly. This thickening may be made in larger quantities, and kept in a stone jar for use when wanted.
Time. - Altogether, 2 hours. Average cost, 4d. per pint.

CLOVES. - This very agreeable spice is the unexpanded flower-buds of the Caryophyllus aromaticus, a handsome, branching tree, a native of the Malacca Islands. They take their name from the Latin word clavus, or the French clou, both meaning a nail, and to which the clove has a considerable resemblance. Cloves were but little known to the ancients, and Pliny appears to be the only writer who mentions them; and he says, vaguely enough, that some were brought to Rome, very similar to grains of pepper, but somewhat longer; that they were only to be found in India, in a wood consecrated to the gods; and that they served in the manufacture of perfumes. The Dutch, as in the case of the nutmeg (see 378), endeavoured, when they gained possession of the Spice Islands, to secure a monopoly of cloves, and, so that the cultivation of the tree might be confined to Amboyna, their chief island, bribed the surrounding chiefs to cut down all trees found elsewhere. The Amboyna, or royal clove, is said to be the best, and is rare; but other kinds, nearly equally good, are produced in other parts of the world, and they come to Europe from Mauritius, Bourbon, Cayenne, and Martinique, as also from St. Kitts, St. Vincent's, and Trinidad. The clove contains about 20 per cent. of volatile aromatic oil, to which it owes its peculiar pungent flavour, its other parts being composed of woody fibre, water, gum, and resin.

437. INGREDIENTS. - 2 large onions, 1 large carrot, 2 oz. of butter, 3 pints of boiling water, 1 bunch of savoury herbs, a wineglassful of good beer; salt and pepper to taste.
Mode. - Slice, flour, and fry the onions and carrots in the butter until of a nice light-brown colour; then add the boiling water and the remaining ingredients; let the whole stew gently for about an hour; then strain, and when cold, skim off all the fat. Thicken it in the same manner as recipe No. 436, and, if thought necessary, add a few drops of colouring No. 108.
Time. - 1 hour. Average cost, 2d. per pint.
Note. - The addition of a small quantity of mushroom ketchup or Harvey's sauce very much improves the flavour of this gravy.


438. INGREDIENTS. - 2 lbs. of shin of beef, 1 large onion or a few shalots, a little flour, a bunch of savoury herbs, 2 blades of mace, 2 or 3 cloves, 4 whole allspice, 1/4 teaspoonful of whole pepper, 1 slice of lean ham or bacon, 1/2 a head of celery (when at hand), 2 pints of boiling water; salt and cayenne to taste.
Mode. - Cut the beef into thin slices, as also the onions, dredge them with flour, and fry of a pale brown, but do not allow them to get black; pour in the boiling water, let it boil up; and skim. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer the whole very gently for 2 hours, or until all the juices are extracted from the meat; put it by to get cold, when take off all the fat. This gravy may be flavoured with ketchup, store sauces, wine, or, in fact, anything that may give additional and suitable relish to the dish it is intended for.
Time. - Rather more than 2 hours.
Average cost, 8d. per pint.

[Illustration: PIMENTO.]

ALLSPICE. - This is the popular name given to pimento, or Jamaica pepper, known to naturalists as Eugenia pimenta, and belonging to the order of Myrtaceae. It is the berry of a fine tree in the West Indies and South America, which attains a height of from fifteen to twenty feet: the berries are not allowed to ripen, but, being gathered green, are then dried in the sun, and then become black. It is an inexpensive spice, and is considered more mild and innocent than most other spices; consequently, it is much used for domestic purposes, combining a very agreeable variety of flavours.

439. INGREDIENTS. - The necks, feet, livers, and gizzards of the fowls, 1 slice of toasted bread, 1/2 onion, 1 faggot of savoury herbs, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 pint of water, thickening of butter and flour, 1 dessertspoonful of ketchup.
Mode. - Wash the feet of the fowls thoroughly clean, and cut them and the neck into small pieces. Put these into a stewpan with the bread, onion, herbs, seasoning, livers, and gizzards; pour the water over them and simmer gently for 1 hour. Now take out the liver, pound it, and strain the liquor to it. Add a thickening of butter and flour, and a flavouring of mushroom ketchup; boil it up and serve.
Time. - 1 hour. Average cost, 4d. per pint.


440. INGREDIENTS. - Bones and trimmings of the cooked joint intended for hashing, 1/4 teaspoonful of salt, 1/4 teaspoonful of whole pepper, 1/4 teaspoonful of whole allspice, a small faggot of savoury herbs, 1/2 head of celery, 1 onion, 1 oz. of butter, thickening, sufficient boiling water to cover the bones.
Mode. - Chop the bones in small pieces, and put them in a stewpan, with the trimmings, salt, pepper, spice, herbs, and celery. Cover with boiling water, and let the whole simmer gently for 1-1/2 or 2 hours. Slice and fry the onion in the butter till it is of a pale brown, and mix it gradually with the gravy made from the bones; boil for 1/4 hour, and strain into a basin; now put it back into the stewpan; flavour with walnut pickle or ketchup, pickled-onion liquor, or any store sauce that may be preferred. Thicken with a little butter and flour, kneaded together on a plate, and the gravy will be ready for use. After the thickening is added, the gravy should just boil, to take off the rawness of the flour.
Time. - 2 hours, or rather more.
Average cost, 4d., exclusive of the bones and trimmings.

JUGGED GRAVY (Excellent).

441. INGREDIENTS. - 2 lbs. of shin of beef, 1/4 lb. of lean ham, 1 onion or a few shalots, 2 pints of water, salt and whole pepper to taste, 1 blade of mace, a faggot of savoury herbs, 1/2 a large carrot, 1/2 a head of celery.
Mode. - Cut up the beef and ham into small pieces, and slice the vegetables; take a jar, capable of holding two pints of water, and arrange therein, in layers, the ham, meat, vegetables, and seasoning, alternately, filling up with the above quantity of water; tie down the jar, or put a plate over the top, so that the steam may not escape; place it in the oven, and let it remain there from 6 to 8 hours; should, however, the oven be very hot, less time will be required. When sufficiently cooked, strain the gravy, and when cold, remove the fat. It may be flavoured with ketchup, wines, or any other store sauce that may be preferred.

It is a good plan to put the jar in a cool oven over-night, to draw the gravy; and then it will not require so long baking the following day.
Time. - From 6 to 8 hours, according to the oven.
Average cost, 7d. per pint.

[Illustration: CELERY.]

CELERY. - As in the above recipe, the roots of celery are principally used in England for flavouring soups, sauces, and gravies, and for serving with cheese at the termination of a dinner, and as an ingredient for salad. In Italy, however, the green leaves and stems are also employed for stews and soups, and the seeds are also more frequently made use of on the continent than in our own islands. In Germany, celery is very highly esteemed; and it is there boiled and served up as a dish by itself, as well as used in the composition of mixed dishes. We ourselves think that this mild aromatic plant might oftener be cooked than it is; for there are very few nicer vegetable preparations brought to table than a well-dressed plate of stewed celery.


442. INGREDIENTS. - 2 slices of nicely flavoured lean ham, any poultry trimmings, 3 lbs. of lean veal, a faggot of savoury herbs, including parsley, a few green onions (or 1 large onion may be substituted for these), a few mushrooms, when obtainable; 1 blade of mace, salt to taste, 3 pints of water.
Mode. - Cut up the ham and veal into small square pieces, put these in a stewpan, moistening them with a small quantity of water; place them over the fire to draw down. When the bottom of the stewpan becomes covered with a white glaze, fill up with water in the above proportion; add the remaining ingredients, stew very slowly for 3 or 4 hours, and do not forget to skim well the moment it boils. Put it by, and, when cold, take off all the fat. This may be used for Bechamel, sauce tournee, and many other white sauces.
Time. - 3 or 4 hours. Average cost, 9d. per pint.

443. INGREDIENTS. - Bones and trimmings of cold roast or boiled veal, 1-1/2 pint of water, 1 onion, 1/4 teaspoonful of minced lemon-peel, 1/4 teaspoonful of salt, 1 blade of pounded mace, the juice of 1/4 lemon; thickening of butter and flour.
Mode. - Put all the ingredients into a stewpan, except the thickening and lemon-juice, and let them simmer very gently for rather more than 1 hour, or until the liquor is reduced to a pint, when strain through a hair-sieve. Add a thickening of butter and flour, and the lemon-juice; set it on the fire, and let it just boil up, when it will be ready for use. It may be flavoured with a little tomato sauce, and, where a rather dark-coloured gravy is not objected to, ketchup, or Harvey's sauce, may be added at pleasure.
Time. - Rather more than 1 hour. Average cost, 3d.

444. INGREDIENTS. - Trimmings of venison, 3 or 4 mutton shank-bones, salt to taste, 1 pint of water, 2 teaspoonfuls of walnut ketchup.
Mode. - Brown the trimmings over a nice clear fire, and put them in a stewpan with the shank-bones and water; simmer gently for 2 hours, strain and skim, and add the walnut ketchup and a seasoning of salt. Let it just boil, when it is ready to serve.
Time. - 2 hours.

[Illustration: THE DEER.]

VENISON. - Far, far away in ages past, our fathers loved the chase, and what it brought; and it is usually imagined that when Isaac ordered his son Esau to go out with his weapons, his quiver and his bow, and to prepare for him savoury meat, such as he loved, that it was venison he desired. The wise Solomon, too, delighted in this kind of fare; for we learn that, at his table, every day were served the wild ox, the roebuck, and the stag. Xenophon informs us, in his History, that Cyrus, king of Persia, ordered that venison should never be wanting at his repasts; and of the effeminate Greeks it was the delight. The Romans, also, were devoted admirers of the flesh of the deer; and our own kings and princes, from the Great Alfred down to the Prince Consort, have hunted, although, it must be confessed, under vastly different circumstances, the swift buck, and relished their "haunch" all the more keenly, that they had borne themselves bravely in the pursuit of the animal.

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