Any tender and well-roasted meat, taken free of fat, skin, and gristle, as well as from the dry outsides, will answer for potting admirably, better, indeed, than that which is generally baked for the purpose, and which is usually quite deprived of its juices by the process. Spiced or corned beef also is excellent when thus prepared; and any of these will remain good a long time if mixed with cold fresh butter, instead of that which is clarified; but no addition that can be made to it will render the meat eatable, unless it be thoroughly pounded; reduced, in fact, to the smoothest possible paste, free from a single lump or a morsel of unbroken fibre. If rent into fragments, instead of being cut quite through the grain, in being minced, before it is put into the mortar, no beating will bring it to the proper state. Unless it be very dry, it is better to pound it for some time before any butter is added, and it must be long and patiently beaten after all the ingredients are mixed, that the whole may be equally blended and well mellowed in flavour.
The quantity of butter required will depend upon the nature of the meat; ham and salted beef will need a larger proportion than roast meat, or than the breasts of poultry and game; white fish, from being less dry, will require comparatively little. Salmon, lobsters, prawns, and shrimps are all extremely good, prepared in this way. They should, however, be perfectly fresh when they are pounded, and be set immediately afterwards into a very cool place. For these, and for white meats in general, mace, nutmeg, and cayenne or white pepper, are the appropriate spices. A small quantity of cloves may be added to hare and other brown meat, but allspice we would not recommend unless the taste is known to be in favour of it. The following receipt for pounding ham will serve as a general one for the particular manner of proceeding.
Pound to the smoothest paste the coral of one or two fine lobsters, mix with it about a third of its volume of fresh butter, and the same proportion of spices as are given in the preceding receipt. Let the whole be thoroughly blended; set it by for a while in a cool place and pot it, or make it up into small pats and serve them with curled parsley round the dish, or with any light foliage that will contrast well with their brilliant colour. The flesh of the lobster may be cut fine with a very sharp knife, and pounded with the coral.
The receipt for these, which we can recommend to the reader, will be found in the next Chapter.
Roast the birds as for table, but let them be thoroughly done, for if the gravy be left in, the meat will not keep half so well. Raise the flesh of the breast, wings, and merrythought quite clear from the bones, take off the skin, mince, and then pound it very smoothly with about one third of its weight of fresh butter, or something less, if the meat should appear of a proper consistence without the full quantity; season it with salt, mace, and cayenne only, and add these in small portions until the meat is rather highly flavoured with both the last: proceed with it as with other potted meats.