In the third and last way which we are to learn about of cooking meat in water, the object is to have the nutriment partly in the meat and partly in the water.
We use a small quantity of water, - less than in making soups, - and cook at a moderate heat for a long time. This mode of cooking is called stewing. The word means a slow, moist, gentle heat, - a sort of sweating. As some of the nutriment is to be in the meat we do not cut it as small as for soups, but into pieces convenient for serving. We put the bones, gristly portions, and the poorer parts of the lean meat into cold water. This draws out enough nutriment to enrich the broth. When the water boils we add the tender portions, that their juices may be kept in them. By this slow, steady simmering, rather than by fierce boiling, the fibres are softened, and the coarsest and cheapest kinds of meat are made tender and nutritious.
Any meat that is quite juicy and not very tough may be first browned on the outside to keep in the juices, and improve the flavor ; but if you have any cold pieces of roast beef or steak, these may be used and will have the same effect. Some proteids are soluble in vegetable acids, like acetic acid, lemon juice, etc., so if coarse, tough pieces of meat are soaked awhile in vinegar, the fibres will be softened and the meat made more tender.
Pieces containing much gristle should be put into cold water. Cheap pieces of meat from the upper part of the shin, the aitch bone, the flank, the neck, and shoul-der, are suitable for stews.
Fowls, tough game, the tougher parts of mutton, lamb, or veal, any meats which have been previously cooked, and any kind of large white fish may be stewed. Meat that has some bone and fat makes a richer stew. A great variety of economical, wholesome, and palatable dishes may be prepared as stews, and there are many names given to this form of cooking.
A stew usually has vegetables and dumplings cooked with the meat.
A haricot of mutton or any other meat is a stew with the meat and vegetables cut fine, - into small bits, the size of a haricot bean.
A ragout is a stew highly flavored with wine.
A salmi is a stew of game.
A chowder is a stew of fish.
A fricassee is a form of stewing where the meat is fried or browned in fat, either before or after stewing, and is usually served without vegetables.
A pot pie is a stew with the dough put on as a crust instead of in the form of dumplings.
Braising is a form of stewing usually done in a covered pan in the oven. The slow, uniform heat from the confined hot air in the oven gives a richer, stronger flavor than that obtained by stewing over the fire. The calf's heart as cooked in the fifth lesson was really a form of braising.
Onions, carrots, turnips, and potatoes are often used in a stew. Onions may be put in with the meat, but the other vegetables should be cut small, and added about half an hour before the stew is done. The kettle should be drawn forward, that the water may boil, not simmer, while the vegetables are cooking. This will not harm the meat as it would if boiled rapidly at first Remove the bones and fat before adding the vegetables. A dumpling is a small ball or portion of dough dropped or dumped quickly into the boiling liquid. There should be only liquid enough to come nearly to the top of the meat and vegetables, that the dumplings may rest on them and not sink into the liquid. The steam from the savory broth will cook the dumplings and impart a richer flavor than that obtained when they are cooked in a steamer over the stew. Cover the kettle closely, as soon as the dumplings are in, and let the stew boil steadily ten minutes, without lifting the cover. Serve them at once. These dumplings are another form of dough made on the same principle as the pudding in the last lesson. As they are to be eaten with meat they require no shortening. The same dough may be cut into small cakes and baked as biscuit.
Suggestion to the Teacher.
In this, as well as in other lessons where there is some time between the first and last steps in the preparation of a dish, it will be well to give the class practice in sharpening the knives, polishing the tins, etc. All this work has to be done, and must be taught. Do not feel that all the time must be spent in cooking. See " Boston Cook Book," page 226.
RECEIPTS FOR LESSON XI. Beef Stew.
1/2 lb. beef. 2 potatoes.
1/2. onion. Salt and pepper.
1/4 c. turnip, cut in half-inch dice. Flour.
1/4 c. carrot, diced. Water to cover.
Wipe the meat, cut it into small pieces, and remove all the fine crumbly bones. Put the larger bones and tough meat into the kettle and cover with cold water. Melt the fat in a frying-pan, dredge the tender meat with salt, pepper, and flour, and brown it in the hot fat. Brown the sliced onions also, then put the meat and onions into the kettle. Add boiling water to cover. Simmer from 2 to 3 h., or till the meat is tender. Half an hour before serving remove the fat and bones, and add the other vegetables. Pare the potatoes, cut them into quarters, parboil them 5 m., then add them to the stew. Cook 20 m. When ready to serve, skim out the meat and potatoes, put them on a dish, thicken the gravy if needed, add more seasoning, and 1/2 c. of strained tomato if desired. Pour the gravy over the meat.
1 pt. flour. 2 tsp. baking-powder.
1/2 tsp. salt. 1 scant c. milk.
Mix the dry ingredients, stir in the milk gradually to make a soft dough. Drop quickly by the spoonful into the boiling stew, letting them rest on the meat and potatoes. Cover closely to keep in the steam, and cook just 10 m., without lifting the cover. Serve at once.
Make the same as for dumplings, and if liked shorter rub 1/2 tbsp. of lard or dripping into the flour. Mix just as soil as can be handled easily, turn the dough out on a floured board, pat it down with the roller until 1/2 inch thick. Cut in small rounds and bake in a very hot oven.
Fill a deep pudding-dish with apples, quartered, pared, and cored. For 1 qt. of apples allow 1/2 c. of sugar and 1/2 c. of water. Bake, closely covered, in a very moderate oven several hours, or till dark-red.
Wash carefully, and if hard and dry soak 1 h. before cooking. Put them in a granite pan and cover with boiling water. Simmer, closely covered, until swollen and tender. Add 1 tbsp. of sugar for 1 pt. of prunes, cook 5 m. longer, and set away to cool.
1. What is the most economical way of cooking meat ?
2. What is stewing ?
3. How do we prepare the meat for stewing ?
4. What parts of meat are to be put into boiling water?
5. What into cold water, and why ?
6. Can a stew be made of cold steak or roast beef !
7. How may we make tough meat tender before stewing it ?
8. What kinds of meat are suitable for a stew ?
9. What is a haricot; a ragout; a salmi; a chowder ; a fricassee ; a pot pie ?
10. What besides meat do we put into a stew ?
11. What are dumplings, and how do you make them ?
12. What are the important points to remember in cooking dumplings ?