The Virginia Housewife: or, Methodical Cook
By Mary Randolph 1762-1828
Baltimore: Plaskitt, Fite, 1838
TO CURE BACON.
HOGS are in the highest perfection, from two and a half to four years old, and make the best bacon, when they do not weigh more than one hundred and fifty or sixty at farthest; they should be fed with corn, six weeks at least, before they are killed, and the shorter distance they are driven to market, the better will their flesh be. To secure them against the possibility of spoiling, salt them before they get cold; take out the chine or back-bone from the neck to the tail, cut the hams, shoulders and middlings; take the ribs from the shoulders and the leaf fat from the hams: have such tubs as are directed for beef, rub a large table spoonful of saltpetre on the inside of each ham, for some minutes, then rub both sides well with salt, sprinkle the bottom of the tub with salt, lay the hams with the skin downward, and put a good deal of salt between each layer; salt the shoulders and middlings in the same manner, but less saltpetre is necessary; cut the jowl or chop from the head, and rub it with salt and saltpetre. You should cut off the feet just above the knee joint; take off the ears and nose, and lay them in a large tub of cold water for souse. When the jowls have been in salt two weeks, hang them up to smoke--do so with the shoulders and middlings at the end of three weeks, and the hams at the end of four. If they remain longer in salt they will be hard. Remember to hang the hams and shoulders with the hocks down, to preserve the juices. Make a good smoke every morning, and be careful not to have a blaze; the smoke-house should stand alone, for any additional heat will spoil the meat. During the hot weather, beginning the first of April, it should be occasionally taken down, examined--rubbed with hickory ashes, and hung up again.
The generally received opinion that saltpetre hardens meat, is entirely erroneous:--it tends greatly to prevent putrefaction, but will not make it hard; neither will laying in brine five or six weeks in cold weather, have that effect, but remaining in salt too long, will certainly draw off the juices, and harden it. Bacon should be boiled in a large quantity of water, and a ham is not done sufficiently, till the bone on the under part comes off with case. New bacon requires much longer boiling than that which is old.
TO MAKE SOUSE.
LET all the pieces you intend to souse, remain covered with cold water twelve hours; then wash them out, wipe off the blood, and put them again in fresh water; soak them in this manner, changing the water frequently, and keeping it in a cool place, till the blood is drawn away; scrape and clean each piece perfectly nice, mix some meal with water, add salt to it, and boil your souse gently, until you can run a straw into the skin with ease. Do not put too much in the pot, for it will boil to pieces and spoil the appearance. The best way is to boil the feet in one pot, the ears and nose in another, and the heads in a third; these should be boiled till you can take all the bones out; let them get cold, season the insides with pepper, salt, and a little nutmeg; make it in a tight roll, sew it up close in a cloth, and press it lightly. Mix some more meal and cold water; just enough to look white; add salt, and one-fourth of vinegar; put your souse in different pots, and keep it well covered with this mixture, and closely stopped. It will be necessary to renew this liquor every two or three weeks. Let your souse get quite cold after boiling, before you put it in the liquor, and be sure to use pale coloured vinegar, or the souse will be dark. Some cooks singe the hair from the feet, etcetera, but this destroys the colour: good souse will always be white.
TO ROAST A PIG.
THE pig must be very fat, nicely cleaned, and not too large to lie in the dish; chop the liver fine and mix it with crumbs of bread, chopped onion and parsley, with pepper and salt, make it into a paste with butter and an egg, stuff the body well with it, and sew it up, spit it, and have a clear fire to roast it; baste with salt and water at first, then rub it frequently with a lump of lard wrapped in a piece of clean linen; this will make it much more crisp than basting it from the dripping pan. When the pig is done, take off the head, separate the face from the chop, cut both in two and take off the ears, take out the stuffing, split the pig in two parts lengthways, lay it in the dish with the head, ears, and feet, which have been cut off, placed on each side, put the stuffing in a bowl with a glass of wine, and as much dripping as will make it sufficiently liquid, put some of it under the pig, and serve the rest in a boat.
TO BARBECUE SHOTE.
This is the name given in the southern states to a fat young hog, which, when the head and feet are taken off, and it is cut into four quarters, will weigh six pounds per quarter. Take a fore-quarter, make several incisions between the ribs, and stuff it with rich forcemeat; put it in a pan with a pint of water, two cloves of garlic, pepper, salt, two gills of red wine, and two of mushroom catsup, bake it, and thicken the gravy with butter and brown flour; it must be jointed, and the ribs cut across before it is cooked, or it cannot be carved well; lay it in the dish with the ribs uppermost; if it be not sufficiently brown, add a little burnt sugar to the gravy, garnish with balls.
TO ROAST A FORE-QUARTER OF SHOTE.
JOINT it for the convenience of carving, roast it before a brisk fire; when done, take the skin off, dredge and froth it, put a little melted butter with some caper vinegar over it, or serve it with mint sauce.
TO MAKE SHOTE CUTLETS.
TAKE the skin from the hind-quarter, and cut it in pieces, prepare them in the way directed for veal cutlets, make a little nice gravy with the skin and the scraps of meat left, thicken it with butter and brown flour, and season it in any way you like.
TO CORN SHOTE.
RUB a hind-quarter with saltpetre and common salt, let it lie ten days, then boil it, and put either carrots or parsnips under it.
TAKE out the brains, and boil the head till quite tender, cut the heart and liver from the harslet, and boil the feet with the head; cut all the meat from the head in small pieces, mince the tongue and chop the brains small, take some of the water the head was boiled in, season it with onion, parsley and thyme, all chopped fine, add any kind of catsup--thicken it with butter and brown flour, stew the whole in it fifteen minutes, and put it in the dish: have the heart roasted to put in the middle, lay the broiled liver around, and garnish it with green pickle.
LEG OF PORK WITH PEASE PUDDING.
BOIL a small leg of pork that has been sufficiently salted, score the top and serve it up; the pudding must be in a separate dish; get small delicate pease, wash them well, and tie them in a cloth, allowing a little room for swelling, boil them with the pork, then mash and season them, tie them up again and finish boiling it; take care not to break the pudding in turning it out.
TAKE the neck chine, rub it well with salt, lay it in a pan, put it in a pint of water, and fill it up with sweet potatos nicely washed, but not peeled, cover it close and bake it till done; serve it up with the potatos, put a little of the gravy in the dish.
TO TOAST A HAM.
BOIL it well, take off the skin, and cover the top thickly with bread crumbs, put it in an oven to brown, and serve it up.
TO STUFF A HAM.
TAKE a well smoked ham, wash it very clean, make incisions all over the top two inches deep, stuff them quite full with parsley chopped small and some pepper, boil the ham sufficiently; do not take off the skin. It must be eaten cold.
SOUSED FEET IN RAGOUT.
SPLIT the feet in two, dredge them with flour and fry them a nice brown; have some well seasoned gravy thickened with brown flour and butter; stew the feet in it a few minutes.
TO MAKE SAUSAGES.
TAKE the tender pieces of fresh pork, chop them exceedingly fine--chop some of the leaf fat, and put them together in the proportion of three pounds of pork to one of fat, season it very high with pepper and salt, add a small quantity of dried sage rubbed to a powder, have the skins nicely prepared, fill them and hang them in a dry place. Sausages are excellent made into cakes and fried, but will not keep so well as in skins.
TO MAKE BLACK PUDDINGS.
CATCH the blood as it runs from the hog, stir it continually till cold to prevent its coagulating; when cold thicken it with boiled rice or oatmeal, add leaf fat chopped small, pepper, salt, and any herbs that are liked, fill the skins and smoke them two or three days; they must be boiled before they are hung up, and prick them with a fork to keep them from bursting.
A SEA PIE.
LAY at the bottom of a small Dutch oven some slices of boiled pork or salt beef, then potatos and onions cut in slices, salt, pepper, thyme and parsley shred fine, some crackers soaked, and a layer of fowls cut up, or slices of veal; cover them with a paste not too rich, put another layer of each article, and cover them with paste until the oven is full; put a little butter between each layer, pour in water till it reaches the top crust, to which you must add wine, catsup of any kind you please, and some pounded cloves; let it stew until there is just gravy enough left; serve it in a deep dish and pour the gravy on.
TO MAKE PASTE FOR THE PIE.
POUR half a pound of butter or dripping, boiling hot, into a quart of flour, add as much water as will make it a paste, work it and roll it well before you use it. It is quite a savoury paste.
TAKE one pound of bacon--fat and lean, one ditto veal, do.,pork, do., suet, chop all fine, season highly: fill the skins, prick and boil them an hour, and hang them to dry--grated bread or boiled rice may be added: clean the skins with salt and vinegar.