Our food today owes much to its Victorian forebears so I have decided to feature some of the recipes I have cooked and the fun of trying to figure out hoe to cook as near to the real thing.
So this Chicken Pie recipe is from Cassell’s New Dictionary of Cookery (I have a 1910 edition but was first published in 1892) which boasts about 10,000 recipes!
I managed to pick my edition up for about £20 but you can a pdf/kindle copy here
Take two large chickens, (I used two large breast) and cut them into neat joints. Put the trimmings, neck, and bones of the legs into a stewpan, with some pepper and salt, a blade of mace, an onion, a bunch of savoury herbs, and a little water, or stock.
Let these simmer gently for one hour and a half. They are to make gravy. Line the edges of a pie-dish with a good crust. Put a layer of chicken at the bottom, and then a layer of ham cut in slices and over that some. (I used ham, chicken and herbs. simmered for 1.5 hours, drained and had a lovely light gravy)
Sausage-meat or forcemeat, (forcemeat is essentially Victorian stuffing and is lovely)
Forcemeat 417 (Mrs Beeton)
417. INGREDIENTS – 2 oz. of ham or lean bacon, 1/4 lb. of suet, the rind of half a lemon, 1 teaspoonful of minced parsley, 1 teaspoonful of minced sweet herbs; salt, cayenne, and pounded mace to taste; 6 oz. of bread crumbs, 2 eggs.
Mode – Shred the ham or bacon, chop the suet, lemon-peel, and herbs, taking particular care that all be very finely minced; add a seasoning to taste, of salt, cayenne, and mace, and blend all thoroughly together with the bread crumbs, before wetting. Now beat and strain the eggs, work these up with the other ingredients, and the forcemeat will be ready for use. When it is made into balls, fry of a nice brown, in boiling lard, or put them on a tin
and bake for 1/2 hour in a moderate oven. As we have stated before, no one flavour should predominate greatly, and the forcemeat should be of sufficient body to cut with a knife, and yet not dry and heavy. For very delicate forcemeat, it is advisable to pound the ingredients together before binding with the egg; but for ordinary cooking, mincing very finely answers the purpose. Average cost, 8d.
Sufficient for a turkey, a moderate-sized fillet of veal, or a hare.
and some hard-boiled eggs cut in slices. Repeat until the dish is full. Pour over all a cupful of water or white stock, and place a cover on the top. Brush over it the yolk of an egg. Bake in a good oven.
When the pie has been in the oven about half an hour, place a piece of paper over the top to prevent the crust from being
frizzled before the meat is sufficiently cooked. When it is ready, raise the cover and pour in the gravy made from the bones. Put a trussing- needle into the pie to ascertain whether it is sufficiently cooked. If it goes through easily, take the pie out.
A pie made with two chickens, sufficient for six persons. Probable cost, 6s.