Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Irish Stew

Below are several examples of Irish Stew. The novel I'm working on now has a bloke who's Irish and well, there's a moment when he's wanting his mother's Irish stew but then he takes another forkful of the spicy cuban beef.

I've also added a poem and a comedic chorus from the 19th century referring to this common meal.

Anyway here are the various recipes.

Cutlets a la Irish Stew.
Get the best end of a neck of mutton, take off the under bone, and cut it into chops; season them with pepper, salt, a little mushroom powder, and beaten mace. Put them into a stewpan, add a large onion sliced, some parsley and thyme tied in a bunch, and a pint or veal broth. Simmer the chops till three parts done, then add some whole potatoes peeled, and let them stew till done. Serve it up in a deep dish.
N. B. Let the parsley and thyme be taken out when the stew is to be served up.
Source: Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined ©1808

IrishStew.—There are two possible reasons for the name of this dish. The first is Hibernian—it is unknown in Ireland; the second is that the stuff of which Irishmen are made is redundant in it—potatoes. The Irish are not cooks. They are the most agreeable of companions at table, but they have done nothing to furnish the table except in the way of Usquebagh—water of life—which, however, it must be admitted is an immense achievement, worthy of the magicians, and proving beyond a doubt that in the olden time Ireland was the abode of giants.
Irish stew is a white ragout of mutton with potatoes for the chief garnish. Most ragouts are brown—it being always easier to heighten the flavour of a sauce by browning it than by trusting to mere decoction. What is called the haricot of mutton, for example, is browned. The beautiful simplicity of the Irish stew would be lost if it were allowed in any way to brown. The potatoes are so important in it that they are always double the weight of the meat, and the only other vegetable that they go with is the onion—which may be much or little according to taste. In the true Irish stew, too, both potatoes and onions are exceedingly well done, so that they are half reduced to a mash.
Take the neck of mutton and divide it into cutlets, well trimmed of the fat. No objection to some of the breast divided into squares. Season the pieces plentifully with pepper and slightly with salt. Place the meat in a deep stewpan with six or eight onions : cover it with water, and let it simmer for half an hour. As Irish stew must not be greasy, the liquor is then poured off, and poured back again after the grease has been removed. In the meantime potatoes have been got ready, parboiled and peeled. They should amount after peeling to twice the weight of the meat. They are added to the stew with a pint of broth or else a like quantity of water; and the whole is left to simmer for an hour and a half. See in serving it that it has salt enough and a decided flavour of the pepper pot.
In Scotland they produce exactly such a stew, cover it over with a crust, and call it Shepherd's pie. In Devonshire and Cornwall they make this pie, put apples into it instead of potatoes, and announce it as Devonshire, Cornish, or Squab pie. The Shepherd's pie of Scotland is evidently too farinaceous—potatoes within and paste without. The housewives of Devonshire and Cornwall are much more artistic in keeping to one kind of farina—the paste, and putting inside the pie only apples and onions. As the combination of apples and onions in the way of garniture has been long dedicated in England to pork, the Devonians and Cornishmen have also decided that their pie shall do honour to pork as often as to mutton—perhaps oftener.
Source: Kettner's book of the table ©1877

Irish Stew.—Take from two to three pounds of chops from tho best end of a neck of mutton, and pare away nearly all tho fat, for an Irish Stew should not be greasy. If liked a portion of tho breast may be cut into squares and used, but a neck of mutton is the best joint for the purpose. Take as many potatoes as will unount after peeling to twice the weight of tho meat. Slice them, and slice also eight largo onions. Put a layer of mixed potatoes and onions at tho bottom of a stowpan. Placo tho meat on this and season it plentifully with pepper and slightly with salt. Pack tho ingredients closely, and cover the moat with artother layer of potato and onion. Pour in as much water or stock as will moisten the topmost layer, cover tho stowpan tightly, and lot its contents simmer gently for three hours. Be careful not to remove the lid, as this will let out the flavour.
Irish Stew (another way).—Put some neat chops, cut from the neck of mutton, into a stewpan; they should be trimmed, and the bonea shortened a little. Braise them for half an hour, and season with pepper, salt, and a few chopped mushrooms. Butter a mould, and thickly line it with mashed potatoes; lay in the chops, and bake. When done, turn out on a hot dish, and pourr in some good gravy through an opening on the top. Time, about half an hour to bako. Two dozen potatoes will bo quite sufficient for this dish.
Source: Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery ©1883

A Poem
an "Happy Land."

Irish stew, Irish stew I
Whatever else my dinner be, Once again, once again,
I'd have a dish of thee.

Mutton chops, and onion slice,
Let the water cover,
With potatoes, fresh and nice;
Boil, but not quite over,
Irish stew, Irish stew 1
Ne'er from thee, my taste will stray.
I could eat
Such a treat
Nearly every day.

Source Humorous Poetry of the English Language ©1884

An Original Parody, by J. Brace Wright.
Air.—Bonnets of Blue.
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
It's season'd so fine, and its flavour's divine,
Hurrah for an Irish stew.

It's good with pepper and salt,
It's good with potatoes a few, There's nought can equal, in this grubbing world, An elegant Irish stew.
Then hurrah (or an Irish stew,
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
It's season'd so fine, and its flavour's divine,
Hurrah for an Irish stew.

If you'd ask a young lover to dine,
And have him prove kind unto you,
To make love come out of his beautiful mouth,

You should stuff it with Irish stew.
Here's a health to John Bull and his beef,

Here's a health to Sandy and brew,
Here's a health to Paddy, good luck in brief,
Success to his Irish stew.

Then hurrah for an Irish stew,
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
It's season'd so fine, and its flavour's divine,
Och ! good luck to an Irish stew.
Source: Melodist and Mirthful Olio ©1828

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