Beef – It’s What Was For Dinner

The tattered old cookbook that my daughter found at an estate sale contained a number of colored plates: Four of them illustrated cuts of beef to be gotten from a whole side of beef. Until the post-Civil War surge in cattle ranching, and the mass transport of cattle from Western ranches, the usual favored meat among Americans was – believe it or not – pork. But after the 1880s, beef ruled the American dinner-table, and from Lowney’s Cookbook Illustrated (of 1908) supplies some of the ways and methods of serving it up.

Spiced Beef

Wash and wipe six pounds of any inexpensive piece of beef: cover with boiling water; bring to the boiling point, then simmer until meat is tender, adding, the last hour of cooking, one cup each of carrot and onions, a bouquet of sweet herbs tied in a bag, pepper and one half tablespoon salt. Remove meat and reduce liquid to one and one half cups.

Shred meat, add liquid and press in bread pan, packing closely. When cold serve in thin slices.

Beefsteak Smothered in Onions

1 dozen small onions, 1 slice porterhouse steak, cut thick, salt & pepper.

Heat a frying pan hissing hot. Put in beefsteak, searing first on one side, then on the other; cook five minutess; season with salt and pepper; add onions which have been cooked one half hour in boiling salted water. Cover and simmer twenty or thirty minutes.

Remove steak to platter, spread with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Season onions with salt, pepper, and butter, and serve around steak.

Broiled Fillets of Beef With Oysters

Cut slices about two inches thick from fillet. Shape in circles. Place on greased broiler and broil over hot coals from four to six minutes, turning every ten seconds; place on a hot platter; sprinkle with salt and pepper; cover with oysters; dot with butter; and bake in oven until oysters curl. Serve immediatly, garnished with parsley and lemon.


A Chicken in Every Pot

From Lowney’s Cook Book

Old Fashioned English Chicken Pie

Cover chicken, cut in pieces for serving, with boiling water, add two sprigs of thyme, one sprig of marjoram, bit of bay leaf, two sprigs parsley, tied in a bag. Simmer gently until tender.

One half hour before chicken is done, add one half-pound bacon, cut in small pieces.

Arrange on the bottom of baking dish, slices of hard-cooked eggs, cover with sautéed mushrooms, then a layer of chicken meat,and continue until dish is filled. Add three cups of sauce made from the liquor in the pan and thickened with two tablespoons butter and four tablespoons flour cooked together; reheat in oven, and garnish with pastry points cut in the shape of triangles, minced parsley, and serve.

Roast Boned Chicken

Bone according to directions for boning chicken. Stuff until plump with forcemeat, sew, press body into natural shape, truss, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge with flour and follow directions for Roast Chicken, allowing twenty minutes for each pound.

Roast Chicken

Remove pinfeathers, singe, take out tendons, draw skin back from neck, cut off neck close to body, cut out oil bag. Make an incision between the legs, running from the breastbone down, and through this opening draw the entrails. If care is taken, all of the internal organs can be removed at once by separating the membrane inclosing the organs from the body.

Draw windpipe and crop through the neck opening. Never make an incision in the breast.

Wash inside of bird with cloth wring out of cold water, removing all clots of blood. Wipe, stuff, sew up openings, truss, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge with flour, place on rack in dripping pan, and cook fifteen minutes in very hot oven. Then dredge pan with flour, reduce heat, and baste every ten minutes until chicken is done, turning often.

Allow fifteen minutes to the pound for roasting.

One Pan Wurst Supper

Heat 1 Tbsp oil, bacon drippings, or render one thin slice of salt-pork cut in small dice, in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot (or the salt-pork rendered) add ¼ cup minced onion and sauté until tender.  Add 1 8-oz. can or 1 cup of well-drained sauerkraut,  2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1/3 cup of dry white wine, beer, water – or (my addition) homemade chicken or vegetable broth, 1/8 teaspoon salt,  ¼ caraway seeds and a twist of fresh-ground black pepper. The original recipe says to cover and simmer for half an hour, then add 4 wieners or 2 knackwursts and simmer for another fifteen minutes. For my version, I add two or four smoked brats – it depends on the size of the brats and if they have been frozen – and two red potatoes, cut in quarters, cover and simmer the whole shebang for half and hour to forty minutes. The potatoes should be done, the sausages cooked through and the broth reduced and absorbed into the vegetables. Serve with a bit of whole-grain mustard on the side, and a salad of fresh garden greens. Total Teutonic bliss achieved … and only one cooking pot to wash. Yep, it doesn’t get much better than this … not until I start to make home-made sauerkraut…