Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Fine Venison Pie and Rhubarb Cups

The Lady's Receipt-book, Eliza Leslie, 1847

--Cut steaks from a loin, or haunch of venison, which should be as freshly killed as you can get it.  The strange prejudice in favour of hard, black-looking venison, that has been kept till the juices are all dried up, is fast subsiding; the preference is now given to that which has been newly killed, whenever it can be obtained.  Those who have eaten venison fresh from the woods, will never again be able to relish it in the state in which it is brought to the Atlantic cities.

Having removed the bones [I didn't.  I cut around them after the steaks were cooked.], and seasoned it with a little salt and pepper; put the venison into a pot [A slow cooker, in this case], with barely as much water as will cover it, and let it stew till perfectly tender, skimming it occasionally.  Then take it out, and set it to cool, saving the gravy in a bowl.  Make a light paste, in the proportion of three quarters of a pound of fresh butter to a pound and a half of flour.  Divide the paste into two portions, and roll it out rather thick.  Butter a deep dish, and line it with one of the sheets of paste.  Then put in the venison.  Season the gravy with a glass of very good wine, either red or white, a few blades of mace, and a powdered nutmeg [I did not use an entire nutmeg, because I am not an insane person].  Stir into it the crumbled yolks of some hard-boiled eggs. [I used six] Pour the gravy over the meat, and put on the other sheet of paste as the lid of the pie.  Notch it handsomely round the edges, and bake it well. If a steady heat is kept up, it will be done in an hour.  Send it to table hot.

Instead of wine, you may put into the gravy a glass of currant-jelly. [I did.]

Any sort of game may be made into a pie, in the above manner.

--Take twenty stalks of green rhubarb; cut them, and boil them in a quart of water.  When it comes to a hard boil, take it from the fire; strain off the water, drain the rhubarb as dry as possible, and then mash it, and make it very sweet with brown sugar.  Have ready half a pint of rice, that has been boiled in a quart of water, till soft and dry. [No.  Victorian people were very bad at cooking rice.] Mix the rhubarb and the rice well together; beating them hard.  Then mould it in cups slightly buttered, and set them on ice, or in a very cold place.  Just before dinner, turn them out on a large dish.  Serve up with them, in a bowl, cream and sugar, into which a nutmeg has been grated; [again, not an entire nutmeg.] or else a sauce made of equal portions of fresh butter and powdered white sugar, beaten together until very light, and flavoured with powdered cinnamon, or nutmeg, and oil of lemon or lemon-juice.


A Fine Venison Pie:  Fabulous.  I over did it on the currant jelly, adding half a jar.  Two or three tablespoons would have done better.  The mace and nutmeg were delicious.  People who say that people in the past only put nutmeg, cinnamon, fruit, sugar, etc. on meats because they wanted to show off because it is awful are terribly misinformed, because it was super great. I was inspired to up my game (ha) by Food History Jottings, which is jaw-droppingly incredible and that you should read right now.  After finishing here.

Rhubarb Cups:  I chose this recipe because I have been canning rhubarb juice!  The byproduct of this was a gallon-size bag of sweetened, drained rhubarb pulp (plus the lemon and orange peels it was cooked with). Perfect!  Rhubarb doesn't seem to be very popular, which is a shame.  If it does appear, it is usually adulterated with strawberries.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, just... let rhubarb be rhubarb sometimes.

Notice that the recipe calls for green rhubarb stalks.  I'm not actually sure why.  Color is not an indicator of how ripe the rhubarb is.  Some varieties are completely red, some are completely green, and most exist on a spectrum between the two, with shades of both on the same plant.  They taste identical, one is just prettier.

I thought it was delicious.  Although, to be honest, I'd probably eat a wooden plank if it came with cream poured over it.  The orange peel mashed up with the rhubarb made it above average, so although it is not in the original recipe, I recommend if you are going to try this.


Nancy said...

cute little deer cutout on your pie crust...

Nancy said...

cute little deer cutout on your pie crust....

Jana said...

It is secretly a horse with antlers, because that is the cookie cutter I had.

nihil said...

I've been wanting to try this and finally made this today but did the whole thing in the cockpot as hubby is on a low carb diet. I used deer strap that we recieved from a friend of ours. Turned out quite tasty and would definitely make it again now that I've finally located the mace to make it. The house smelled a bit like mulled wine and egg nog and I'm guessing that mace may be a secret ingredient in my favorite eggnogs. The venison when paired with the gravy from the crock is quite filling and juicy. ;) thanks for the recipie and for all the good (and bad) cooking you share with the world.

Jana said...

Thanks for sharing! Glad it came out well.