Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An alternative Christmas dinner recipe perhaps!...

This is a recipe called Tonbridge Brawn taken from Eliza Acton's famous book: Modern Cookery for Private Families published circa 1845. Ms Acton was almost as famous in her day as Isabella Beeton. Her book was groundbreaking in that she was one of the very first to give clear instructions on how to make the meal and provide a complete list of ingredients. Basically she was well ahead of her time. More importantly for us though she immortalised Tonbridge by naming many of her recipes after the town, it's people and places such as Bordyke Veal Cake and Tourte a la Judd (I'm not making this up you know!) Anyway this one sounds pretty gruesome in its preparation but I'm sure it tasted wonderful:

Tonbridge Brawn
 Split open the head of a pig of middling size, remove the brain and all the bones, strew the inside rather thickly with fine salt, and let it drain until the following day.
Cleanse the ears and feet in the same manner : wipe them all from the brine, lay them into a large pan, and rub them well with an ounce and a half of saltpetre mixed with six ounces of sugar ; in twelve hours, add six ounces of salt ; the next day pour a quarter of a pint of good vinegar over them, and keep them turned in the pickle every twenty-four hours for a week ; then wash it off the ears and feet, and boil them for about an hour and a half ; bone the feet while they are warm, and trim the gristle from the large ends of the ears.
When these are ready, mix a large grated nutmeg with a teaspoonful and a half of mace, half a teaspoonful of cayenne, and as much of cloves. Wash, but do not soak the head; wipe and flatten it on a board ; cut some of the flesh from the thickest parts, and (when the whole of the meat has been seasoned equally with the spices) lay it on the thinnest; intermix it with that of the ears and feet, roll it up very tight, and bind it firmly with broad tape; fold a thin pudding-cloth quite closely round it, and tie it securely at both ends.
A braising-pan, from its form, is best adapted for boiling it, but if there be not one at hand, place the head in a vessel adapted to its size, with the bones and trimmings of the feet and ears, a large bunch of savoury herbs, two moderate-sized onions, a small head of celery, three or four carrots, a teaspoonful of peppercorns, and sufficient cold water to cover it well; boil it very gently for four hours, and leave it until two parts cold in the liquor in which it was boiled.
Take off the cloth, and put the brawn between two dishes or trenchers, with a heavy weight on the upper one. The next day take off the fillets of tape, and serve the head whole or sliced with the brawn sauce...

1 comment:

hallum said...

They missed out the bit about taking the meat off and mixing with the warm stock and setting as jelly, but delicious! I've made it a couple of times in the past. I might have a go again this christmas. Not for the big day, but as part of a cold party buffet.
I have already cooked and pressed an ox tongue. Let's make it an offal christmas!