STEWED BEEF.—The aitch-bone and pieces from the shin, the upper part of the chuck-rib and neck of beef, are the parts most commonly used for stewing. All meat for stews should be carefully dressed and free from blood. Those portions which have bone and fat, as well as lean beef, make much better-flavored stews than pieces which are wholly lean. The bones, however, should not be crushed or splintered, but carefully sawed or broken, and any small pieces removed before cooking. It is generally considered that beef which has been previously browned makes a much more savory stew, and it is quite customary first to brown the meat by frying in hot fat. A much more wholesome method, and one which will have the same effect as to flavor, is to add to the stew the remnants of roasts or steak. It is well when selecting meat for a stew to procure a portion, which, like the aitch-bone, has enough juicy meat upon it to serve the first day as a roast for a small family. Cut the meat for a stew into small pieces suitable for serving, add boiling water, and cook as directed on page 396. Remove all pieces of bone and the fat before serving. If the stew is made of part cooked and part uncooked meat, the cooked meat should not be added until the stew is nearly done. The liquor, if not of the proper consistency when the meat is tender, may be thickened by adding a little flour braided in cold water, cooking these after four or five minutes.
The strong flavor of mutton is said to be due to the oil from the wool, which penetrates the skin, or is the result, through heedlessness or ignorance of the butcher, in allowing the wool to come in contact with the flesh. There is a quite perceptible difference in the flavor of mutton from a sheep which had been for some time sheared of its woolly coat and that from one having a heavy fleece.
The smallest proportion of both fat and bone to muscle is found in the leg; consequently this is the most valuable portion for food, and is likewise the most economical, being available for many savory dishes. On account of the disagreeable adhesive qualities of its fat when cold, mutton should always be served hot.
BOILED LEG OF MUTTON.—Wipe carefully, remove the fat, and put into boiling water. Skim, and cook as directed on page 395, twelve minutes for each pound.
BROILED CHOPS.—The best-flavored and most tender chops are those from the loins. Remove carefully all the pink skin above the fat, scraping it off if possible without cutting into the lean. Wipe with a wet cloth, and broil in the same manner as beefsteak over hot coals or in a hot skillet, turning frequently until done; five or eight minutes will suffice to cook. Sprinkle salt on each side, drain on paper, and serve hot.
POT-ROAST LAMB.—For this purpose a stone jar or pot is best, although iron or granite-ware will do; wipe the meat well and gash with a sharp knife. If crowded closely in the pot, all the better; cover with a lid pressed down firmly with a weight to hold it if it does not fit tightly. No water is needed, and no steam should be allowed to escape during the cooking. Roast four or five hours in a moderate oven.