This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Brisket is equally good corned or fresh, although it contains considerable bone, a six-pound piece giving three pounds of meat to pot-roast, two and a half pounds of bone for stock, and a half pound of fat to render for cooking.
A good cook prepares fresh brisket, slicing it when it is done, and pouring over the stock in which it is cooked, letting the meat drink it up. This is served with a horseradish sauce and plenty of mashed potato, sprinkled with fried onions. Potato pancakes may be served instead of the mashed potato.
Another inexpensive cut is flank steak. This can be scored and fried and served with a tomato sauce, or it can be made into "blind duck." To do this it should be stuffed with chopped onions and potatoes, well-seasoned with salt, pepper and sage, tied securely and braised. Or it can be used for beef roulades, with vegetables, in a stew, or boiled and made into a pie. It is clear meat with no waste, when well trimmed.
Flank fat can be rendered with practically no waste and sells for about the same price as suet. It is not economy to buy very cheap fat, for it contains so much meat fiber that is waste. In fact it always pays to purchase meats that are well trimmed, at a higher price per pound than to buy cheaper grades that contain a great deal of waste.
Kidneys are an inexpensive article and they may appear on the table in a variety of forms.
The rump weighs about twelve pounds and furnishes a fine pot-roast or corned beef, with soup stock from the bones.
The round is divided into two parts, the top and bottom, which are generally cut up into steaks, those from the top being the best. The bottom cuts, however, if cut from good beef, are tender. They will "go further" if cooked en casserole, or rolled up and braised like a "blind duck" and served with plenty of gravy. A thirty-pound round cuts up into about twenty pounds of steak, the balance going into chopped meat and trimmings. When chopped meat is offered for sale at a low price, it almost certainly contains a high percentage of fat, and sometimes a great deal of water, for it is just as easy to "plump" beef as chicken or oysters. It is more economical to pay a little more and get honest meat. If he butcher will not let you see his meat chopped, it is wise to grind the meat at home.
The horseshoe is a small piece of clear meat which weighs about two pounds and a half and which makes an excellent pot-roast or stew.
The leg weighs about nineteen pounds and contains about five and a half pounds of meat and fourteen pounds of bone. Thus it does not pay to buy the entire piece, as it is much cheaper to purchase the clear meat with as much bone as is needed. This meat makes an excellent shank stew, which, to be perfect, should be accompanied by marrow balls.
A shin cut from the forequarter can also be used in a similar way. The forequarter chuck is not cheap as it contains so much bone, the amount increasing as it goes into the shoulder blade, but it makes good stew or boiled beef.
Beef hearts are rarely kept in the average market but they furnish a good food at low cost. They average about three and a half pounds and can be stuffed and potted, or braised with vegetables. They also make excellent mince meat.
Tripe usually sells at a low price and it can be used in many ways. Beef liver is cheap, too, and, if the outer membrane is stripped off and the veins cut out, it can be scalded, dipped in flour and fried so that it will be as tender as calves' liver.
The season of the year makes considerable difference in the price of meats. From May to October the round and sirloin cuts are more in demand and, therefore, cost more. Because of this rib roasts drop in price, especially as few housewives cook roasts in summer, preferring steaks. In the fall corned beef jumps in price because the purchasers do not know that it can be boiled and pressed and served cold in summer with a crisp salad. Lamb goes up from March to May, while, if spring lamb is late, it is dear until July. Then is the time for the woman who has to be economical not to buy lamb, yet they are the very ones who do.
As is the case with beef, there are three grades of lamb. Good lamb is not very heavy. If the leg joints are stiff, the lamb is fresh, and the fat should be firm and white. The joints of fresh lamb can be easily separated to show the knuckle, while mutton is usually splintered at the joint. An eight and a half pound forequarter will furnish two and a half pounds of stew meat, one and a quarter pounds of breast, four shoulder chops, which are excellent either pan--broiled or en casserole, and two pounds from the rack. Besides this there are enough trimmings for a barley stew, for instance. If desired, the chuck, or shoulder, can be bought separately and boned, rolled and dressed for roasting or braising; or the chuck and the breast can be purchased together, filled with a bread dressing and braised, or the shoulder can be raised off for a casserole, the four chops under the shoulder cut out, and the neck and bones used for a stew. Even a small family can dispose of a shoulder of lamb in this way - and this is economical purchasing - if the woman of the household is willing to cook.
The whole hindquarter of lamb weighs about eight and a quarter pounds and furnishes eight loin or kidney chops, a six-pound roast, and a lamb kidney, besides some trimmings.
The " pluck" includes about a pound and a half of liver and a half pound of heart.