Traditional English Cuisine

 

Boiled Meats

 

There was a time, not so long ago, that boiling meat was a very common way of cooking, especially for cheaper cuts of meat. Not just boiled meat recipes themselves, but stews and casseroles would begin by boiling the meat rather than searing it in hot oil. I can still remember the smell of boiling beef – one of my fondest childhood memories. There are some indications that boiling meat, and hopefully some of the traditional recipes associated with it, is making a come back.

 

Boiled Gammon

 

Probably the only boiled meat recipe that is still commonly eaten, especially sliced cold ham which is a lunch staple. But hot boiled ham or gammon is a really nice dish in its own right. Stick a few cloves into the ham or gammon, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour or two depending on size. Change the water at least once to reduce the saltiness of the gammon and serve with steamed leeks, potatoes, carrots, peas or broad beans and parsley sauce. One of my favourites!

 

 

Boiled Beef

 

Made famous through Oliver Twist, this used to be a very popular dish and is making a comeback. Brisket is a common cut and the meat is sometimes, although not always, salted. The salted variety is known as Corned Beef in the States, where it is seen as an Irish dish. But in reality this is a very traditional dish throughout the British Isles.

 

 

Boiled Mutton

 

Being tougher than lamb, mutton (or ‘Old Ewe’ as my grandfather called it) benefits from being boiled. You could just boil it plain, but a really delicious old fashioned variation is with a caper sauce. The sauce is simply made using stock, cream and capers with their vinegar. The capers, with their sharp vinegar, complement the fatty lamb or mutton really well. This is another of my all-time favourites. Unfortunately, it is virtually unknown in modern England, so here’s my bit to help revive it!

 

 

Boiled Capon

 

A Capon is a tough old cockerel Chicken. Again, you rarely come across this dish these days, though it is still eaten. I remember my mother used to cook it occasionally. The bird is usually cooked whole and often together with fruit such as oranges. Here’s a recipe from Elizabethan England. Who said English food is plain!

 

Take strong Mutton Broth, and truss a Capon, and boil him in it with some Marrow and a little Salt in a Pipkin, when it is tender, then put in a pint of White Wine, half a pound of Sugar, and four Ounces of Dates stoned and sliced, Potato Roots boiled and blanched, large Mace and Nutmeg sliced, boil all these together with a quarter of a pint of Verjuyce, then dish the Capon, and add to the Broth the yolks of six Eggs beaten with Sack.

 

To serve it; garnish dish with several sorts of Candied Pills and Preserved Barberries, and sliced Limon with Sugar upon every slice.

 

 

 

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