Friday, February 26, 2010

Codfish Done in the French Style

From "French Cookery Adapted for English Families", 1853


Take a fine cod sprinkle salt over it for a day or two; put it in a fish-kettle full of cold water; take it off after it boils up, cover the kettle for ten or fifteen minutes, drain it, melt some butter in a stewpan, add a little flour, pepper, and some cream ; put your cod quite hot on your dish, and serve with the sauce poured over it. Slices of cod that has been dressed can be served with the same sauce, but in this case the fish must be warmed in the sauce. Nutmeg grated, or a blade of mace is an improvement.


Dress your cod as before, put on your dish with a piece of butter some pepper, chives, and parsley chopped fine, grated nutmeg, and verjuice or vinegar. Mix well with butter, and serve your fish on it.


Dress it as before, and pour over it some white sauce with capers. You may also serve cod with small potatoes boiled in water, with white sauce, with or without capers, and anchovy essence.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gigot de Mouton aux Epinards

From "Twenty-four little French dinners and how to cook and serve them", 1919

Gigot de Mouton aux Epinards. Roast a small leg of mutton, putting some salt and a small quantity of water at the bottom of the tin. When half cooked, remove the meat and carefully skim the gravy of all fat. Return the mutton to the tin, pour gravy over it and surround it with potatoes cut to the size of walnuts. Put back in the oven, letting the potatoes cook in the juice of the meat. Meanwhile cook about three pounds of spinach, drain, squeeze out all water and pass through a sieve. Return to a saucepan in which about two ounces of butter has been heated and season with pepper and salt. Add a tablespoonful of gravy from the mutton and allow the spinach to simmer till the meat is done. Then pile the spinach with the potatoes about the meat and serve, having the gravy in a sauceboat.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Turkey en Daube

From "Domestic French Cookery", 1836

Take a large turkey ; lard it and stuff it as for roasting. Then cover it all over with a seasoning made of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sweet-herbs, parsley and onions, minced fine. Put it into a stew-pan, with some slices of bacon, one or two calves-feet, some onions and carrots, one or two laurel leaves, a few cloves, a beaten nutmeg, salt, pepper, and, if you choose, a clove of garlic. Pour in a pint of water, and a pint of white wine or brandy.

Put on the cover of the stew-pan, and lay round its edge on the outside a wet cloth, which must be kept wet. Stew it slowly for five or six hours or more, and turn the turkey when about half done. When it is finished, withdraw the fire, and skim
and strain the gravy. Serve up the turkey with the gravy under it.

A goose done this way is very fine.

A round of beef may be stewed in the same manner. It will be the better for lying all night in the seasoning, and it should be put in to stew early in the morning.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Larding in French Cooking

From "Domestic French Cookery", 1836

Larding with slips of fat bacon greatly improves the taste and appearance of meat, poultry, game, etc. and is much used in French cookery.

For this purpose, you must have a larding-pin (which may be purchased at the hardware stores); it is a steel instrument about a foot in length, sharp at one end, and cleft at the other into four divisions which are near two inches long, and resembling tweezers.

Bacon is the proper meat to lard with ; the fat only is used. Cut it into slips not exceeding two inches in length, half an inch in breadth, and half an inch in thickness, and smaller if intended for poultry ; they will diminish in cooking. Put these slips of bacon (one at a time) into the cleft or split end of the larding-pin. Give each slip a slight twist and press it down hard into the pin, with
your fingers. Then run the pin through the meat or fowl (avoiding the bones), and when you draw it out on the under side it will have left the slip of bacon sticking in the upper side. Take care to arrange the slips in regular rows and at equal distances ; have them all of the same size, and let every one stick up about an inch from the surface of the meat. If any are wrong, take them out and do them over again.

Fowls and birds are generally larded on the breast only. To lard handsomely and neatly, practice and dexterity are requisite.

Cold poultry may be larded with slips of the fat of cold boiled ham, and when not to be cooked again, it may be made to look very tastefully.

The slips for cold poultry should be very small, scarcely thicker than a straw.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Classic French Bechamel Sauce


Put into a sauce-pan a quarter of a pound of butter sprinkled with flour, three or four onions, and a carrot cut small, a little parsley, and a dozen mushrooms. Set it over the fire until the butter is melted, and then add three table-spoonfuls of flour stirred into a pint of cream or rich milk, with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to your taste. Stir it till it boils ; then reduce the fire, and let the bechamel
stew gently for three quarters of an hour. When it is done, strain it, and then stir in the yolks of three eggs.


Cut into dice, or small square pieces, half a pound of bacon or ham, a carrot, a turnip, and two onions. Put them into a sauce-pan, with two large spoonfuls of veal-dripping ; add a little butter (about two ounces), and two large spoonfuls of flour. Moisten it with boiling water, or broth. Add nutmeg, cloves, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper to your taste ; also a laurel-leaf. Let it stew for an hour. Strain it, and before you serve it up, squeeze in a little lemon-juice.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

French Almond Soup

From "Domestic French Cookery", 1836.

Take half a pound of shelled sweet almonds, and two ounces of shelled bitter almonds. Scald them, to make the skins peel soft easily, and when they are blanched, throw them into cold water. Then drain and wipe them dry. Beat them (a few at a time) in a marble mortar, adding as you beat them, a little milk and a little grated lemon-peel.

Have ready two quarts of rich milk, boiled with two sticks of cinnamon and a quarter of a pound of sugar. Stir the almonds gradually into the milk, and let them have one boil up. Prepare some slices of toasted bread, take out a little of the soup and soak them in it. Then lay them in the bottom of a tureen, and pour the soup over them. Grate on some nutmeg.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

French Omelettes

From "Easy French Cookery", 1910.

It is not often that one makes a complete success of the first omelet, but the young housewife who essays this delicate form of cookery must not be discouraged. Even if the first omelet is a comparative failure, it is almost certain that, with patient attention to the following instructions, the fifth or sixth attempt will be a decided success.

Butter a frying pan, beat the eggs (seasoned with salt and pepper) and pour into the frying-pan, stir briskly with a fork, and as soon as the eggs begin to set, tilt the pan on one side, and work the eggs together with the fork, till the omelet assumes an oblong shape and is evenly united.

Now drop the omelet on to a dish by placing the dish on the uneven part of the eggs and turning the pan on to the dish, thus getting the smooth side uppermost; trim the edges and serve.

(Omelette aux Fines Herbes)

When beating the eggs, mix a little parsley, or spice, or dried herbs, as may be desired, and cook in the same manner as above.

(Omelette aux Champignons)

Finely slice a few fresh mushrooms and cook in a frying-pan with a little butter. Make a plain omelet, and mix the mushrooms just before the eggs commence to set.

(Omelette aux Tomates)

Skin two or three tomatoes after placing in boiling water for a few minutes, cut into eighths, remove the seeds, and mix with the eggs.

Make a slit in the centre of the omelet and pour a thickened tomato sauce into it.

(Omelette aux Truffes)

Either fresh or bottled truffles may be used, fresh, of course, being preferable. Skin and mince one or two small truffles and put into a frying-pan with a little butter, salt and pepper ; cook for about five minutes.

Beat eggs as for plain omelet, add truffles, make omelet, and serve very hot.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Consomme Julienne

From "Easy French Cookery", 1910.

Take four carrots, three turnips, two onions, two leeks, three hearts of lettuce, a small heart of cabbage, and two small sticks of celery ; cut the turnips and carrots into thin slices about one inch long, also the celery, onion, and leeks.

Place the onions and leeks in a saucepan with some cooking butter, and let cook till brown ; now add all the remaining vegetables, with the exception of the cabbage and lettuce, and allow to cook till all the moisture has evaporated ; add salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

Mix with two quarts of hot consomme (clear soup of either beef or chicken).

As soon as all comes to the boil, draw to the side of the fire and allow to simmer for one hour; now add the cabbage and, one hour afterwards, the lettuce. A handful or two of green peas may be added if desired.

As soon as the last vegetables are thoroughly cooked, pour all into tureen and serve.