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Stews And Stewing

( Originally Published 1904 )



STEWING is the process of cooking by gentle heat in a very small quantity of water. The essential difference between boiling and stewing lies in the fact that in the latter process the heat of the liquid never readres the boiling point; but the process is one of gentle - simmering. Therefore stewing is slower than boiling; but it is in many respects one of the best modes of preparing food. The long-continued moist, gentle heat has the effect of rendering tender and grateful the coarser kinds of meat that by any other treatment would be unpalatable. It is also an economical process of cooking—not only in the amount of fuel necessary, but in the quality and quantity of the food articles that may be prepared in this way. For there are such possibilities in the judicious and abundant use of seasonings and additional ingredients, that it is one of the best means of making over the savory remnants of previous meals. The one great principle of successful stewing is to remember that the food must not boil violently.

Cullis, as the French call it. The loss of water in the necessary gentle simmering is only 15 per cent. Good judgment must therefore be used in placing sufficient water with the food. If too lit-'tie is used, there is danger of the water evaporating and the meat and-vegetables burning. If too much is used, the gravy or, cullis will be thin and watery, or the, dish will not be ready for the meal.

To attempt to remedy the fault of too much liquid by rapid boiling, in order to cause evaporation, merely violates all the principles of stewing and ruins the dish: As only a small quantity of water is used the meat and vegetables are cut into small pieces, the latter preferably into dice. The meat, however, is not cut

This causes meat to become tough and shrivelled, and renders it less nutritious and palatable. Some cooks fry the meat slightly before placing it in the water to stew. This is done for a double purpose: first, to retain as much as possible of the nutritious juices, and, second, to furnish a rich brown gravy which adds to the-quality of the dish. These principles of cooking are equally applicable to the stew, the ragout, the haricot, and the salmi; and it is the skilful efficiency in the practice that lends such excellence to the French cooking. The small quantity of water used ensures a rich gravy, or sosinall as in making soup. The reason for this is that it is desired to have some of the nutriment in the meat, While in soup it is to be entirely extracted and the meat is discarded: An-other Way to ensure in the smile dish both rich broth and nutritious meat is to first plaee the belies, gristly portions, and a few small pieces of meat in cold water and let theth come tea boil: This Will give a rich broth or gravy. Then the lean parts of meat are added and the whole simnets until cooked. The water will absorb only so much of the juices of the meat. When it has absorbed all-that it can the Water is said to be saturated With the solution, and the process of absorption ceases. If raw Meat. is to be used, it is well to brown it on the outside before stew in order to keep in the juices; but if pieces of cold roast beef or broiled steak are used, this will not be necessary, as the previous cooking will have effected that end. If the Meat to be used is quite tough, it May be rendered tender by soaking it in vinegar before using; the tough- depends upon the proteids, which are in-soluble in Water, but are soluble in an acid: It is for this reason that the juice of lemon is used With meats. The cheapest portions of meat May Well be used in stewing, as may also the Meat of fowls, tough game, and large fish. The fat upon meat Will make the stew richer.

When the vegetables are used they are not put in with the meat; for they do not take so long to cook. They are best added about half an hour before the stew is done. It is well to take out the bone and gristle before adding the vegetables; onions, however, if used, may be put in at the same time as the meat. If dumplings are to be added, they will require only ten or fifteen minutes, to cook. They are best cooked by the steam from the stew. It is not at all necessary that they should be immersed in the liquid, but are dropped upon the meat and vegetables so that the steam may reach them. The vessel must be covered while the dumplings are in; and the stew is to be served at once when they are done, else they will become heavy. When we use vegetables and dumplings with the meat we call the dish a stew. If the meat and vegetables are cut very small, as all as a French bean, we call it a haricot.

If wine is used as a flavor, the dish is a ragout.

If game instead of meat is used, it is a salmi. If fish is used, it is a chowder.

In preparing meat for the stew be sure to take out all of the small particles of broken or splintered bone, and to wipe the meat. If fresh meat is to be ordered for the stew, the shin, neck, shoulder, or aitch bone may be chosen.

But it must not be forgotten that remains from previous meals may be used.

If fresh meat is used, brown it. First melt the fat in a frying-pan and, after seasoning the small pieces of meat and dredging them in flour, fry them in the fat until browned outside.

If onions are used, they too may be browned and put in with the meat: Enough water. is added to cover 'the meat. The potatoes are pared and quartered, and parboiled for five minutes. They are added twenty minutes be-fore the stew is done. Half an hour before the stew is done take out the bone and gristle and add the other vegetables. When ready to serve, take out the meat and vegetables with a skimmer and thicken the gravy if. necessary. Add seasoning, and pour the gravy over the meat and vegetables.

A fricassee is a combination of stewing and frying. By the latter process the meat may or may not be browned. No vegetables are used in the fricassee. Chicken and veal are the meats usually used for this dish.

BEEF STEW

1 pound beef; 1 small turnip; 1 small carrot; 1 small onion; 4 medium-sized potatoes; 1 quart boiling water; 1 teaspoonful salt; sprinkle pep-per; flour.

Buy tough, juicy beef from the leg, shin, lower part of the round, or the neck. Wipe, re-move the fat, and cut. the lean meat into inch cubes. Shake flour over it, and roll it so that it will be covered. Peel and slice the onion, brown it in the fat from the meat, and put into a sauce-pan with the boiling water, . salt, and pepper. Brown the floured meat in the same fat, and add it to the boiling water. Simmer one hour to soften the meat and draw out some of the juice. Wash the turnip, carrot, and potatoes; take a thick paring from the turnip, a thin paring from the potatoes, and scrape the carrot thinly; cut the potatoes into quarters, the turnip and carrot into slices, then into quarter-inch dice. When the stew has been cooking fifteen minutes, or forty-five minutes before it is to be served, put the carrots and turnips on to boil in a separate saucepan in boiling salted water; one-half hour before it is to be served, put the potatoes in with the other vegetables. Before putting in the dumplings, drain the water off the vegetables and add them to the stew. Then boil the stew to cook the dumplings for ten minutes. Serve on a hot platter, with the dumplings around the edge, the potatoes inside, and the meat and vegetables in a mound in the centre. This method completes the stew in an hour.

Another way is to prepare the meat and vegetables as above, put them all together in a saucepan and let the. stew simmer slowly for two or three hours.

VEAL FRICASSEE

2 pounds shank or neck of veal; 2 small onions; 1 teaspoonful salt; 1/8 teaspoonful pepper; flour; dripping; 1/2 cup milk; 1 tablespoonful butter.

Remove the bones, if there are any; place them in a saucepan with the salt and pepper and add 2 cups cold water. Simmer, and while cooking, slice the onions, cut the meat into inch cubes, remove the fat and dredge the meat with flour. Melt 1 teaspoonful dripping in a pan, fry the onion golden brown and add it to the water. Brown the meat slightly and add. Simmer one-half hour. Cook 1 tablespoonful flour in 1 table-spoonful butter, add the milk gradually to it, and stir it into the fricassee. Boil five minutes, and serve. If desired, 2 potatoes, which have been parboiled five minutes, may be sliced and added to the fricassee after the meat.

CHICKEN FRICASSEE

Clean a chicken thoroughly. Remove the crop by pulling it out at the end of the neck. Take out the lungs, heart, gizzard, and liver. Clean the gizzard, cut off the green gall-bladder from the liver, being careful not to break it, or the bitter juice will spoil the chicken. Cut off the legs and wings, and separate them at the joints. Cut the chicken into pieces about the size of the legs, and put all the pieces with the heart, gizzard, and liver, into a kettle with 1 quart boiling water, 1 teaspoonful salt, and a sprinkle pepper: Simmer one-half hour to each pound, or Until tender. Remove the chicken from the water, let tile Water boil, and mix 1 tablespoonful flour with enough cold water to make a smooth paste, stir it into the boiling waters gnd boil five minutes. Brown the chicken in a little butter in a frying-pan; pour the gravy over it, and serve on slices of toast; or with potatoes on the table.



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