Large joints of meat should be neatly trimmed, washed extremely clean, and skewered or bound firmly into good shape, when they are of a nature to require it; then well covered with cold water, brought to boil over a moderate fire, and simmered until they are done, the scum being carefully and entirely cleaned from the surface of the water, as it gathers there, which will be principally from within a few minutes of its beginning to boil, and during a few minutes afterwards. If not thoroughly skimmed off at the proper time, it will sink, and adhere to the joint, giving it a very uninviting appearance.
We cannot too strongly again impress upon the cook the advantages of gentle simmering over the usual fast-boiling of meat, by which, as has been already forcibly shown (see article Bouillon, Chapter I (Soups).), the outside is hardened and deprived of its juices before the inside is half done, while the starting of the flesh from the bones which it occasions, and the altogether ragged aspect which it gives, are most unsightly.
Pickled or salted meat requires longer boiling than fresh; and that which is smoked and dried longer still. This last should always be slowly heated, and if, from any circumstances, time cannot have been allowed for soaking it properly, and there is a probability of its being too salt when served, it should be brought very softly to boil in a large quantity of water, which should in part be changed as soon as it he-comes quite briny, for as much more that is ready boiling.
It is customary to lay large joints upon a fish-plate, or to throw some wooden skewers under them, to prevent their sticking to the vessel in which they are cooked; and it is as well to take the precaution, though, unless they be placed over a very fierce fire, they cannot be in danger of this. The time allowed for them is about the same as for roasting, from fifteen to twenty minutes to the pound. For cooking rounds of beef, and other ponderous joints, a pan of this form is very convenient.
By means of two almost equally expensive preparations, called a poelée, and a blanc, the insipidity which results from boiling meat or vegetables in water only, may be removed, and the whiteness of either will be better preserved. Turkeys, fowls, sweetbreads, calf's brains, cauliflowers, and artichoke bottoms, are the articles for which the poelée and the blanc are more especially used for refined foreign cookery: the reader will judge by the following receipts how far they are admissible into that of the economist.
Cut into large dice two pounds of lean veal, and two pounds of fat bacon, cured without saltpetre, two large carrots, and two onions; to these add half a pound of fresh butter, put the whole into a stewpan, and stir it with a wooden spoon over a gentle fire, until the veal is very white, and the bacon is partially melted; then pour to them three pints of clear boiling broth or water, throw in four cloves, a small bunch of two of thyme and parsley, a bay-leaf, and a few corns of white pepper; boil these gently for an hour and a half, then strain the poelée through a fine sieve, and set it by in a cool place. Use it instead of water for boiling the various articles we have already named: it will answer for several in succession, and will remain good for many days. Some cooks order a pound of butter in addition to the bacon, and others substitute beef-suet in part for this last.
Put into a stewpan one pound of fat bacon rasped, one pound of beef suet cut small, and one pound of butter, the strained juice of two lemons, a couple of bay-leaves, three cloves, three carrots, and three onions divided into dice, and less than half a pint of water. Simmer these gently, keeping them often stirred, until the fat is well melted, and the water has evaporated; then pour in rather more than will be required for the dish which is to be cooked in the blanc; boil it softly until all the ingredients have given out their full flavour, skim it well, and salt if needed, and strain it off for use. A calf's head is often boiled in this.