I must admit my adaptations of colonial recipes for Tasty Tuesday are becoming more aggressive. At least for this recipe. I’ll explain as we go.
First, as always, comes Hannah Glasse’s receipt from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy:
To make a savory Lamb or Veal Pie.
Make a good puff paste crust, cut your meat into pieces, season it to your palate with pepper, salt, mace, cloves, and nutmegs finely beat; lay it into your crust with a few lamb-stones and sweetbreads seasoned as your meat; also some oysters and force-meat balls, hard yolks of eggs, and the tops of asparagus two inches long, first boiled green; put butter all over the pie, put on the lid, and set it in a quick oven an hour and a half, and then have ready the liquor, made thus: take a pint of gravy, the oyster liquor, a gill of red wine, and a little grated nutmeg; mix all together with the yolks of two or three eggs beat, and keep it stirring one way all the time. When it boils, pour it into your pie; put on the lid again. Send it hot to table. You must make liquor according to your pie.
I know many people who make their pie crust from scratch. That’s not something I’ve mastered and I find it simpler to buy ready-made crust from the store. But by all means, if you enjoy making your own, you’ll not hear anything but praise from me. More power to you!
The mystery in this recipe for me is with regards to the pie lid. I didn’t take the time (sorry, my bad) to research into what a “good puff paste crust” might be, figuring I needed to keep my final recipe as easy to make as possible or I’d probably never make it again. Thus my choice to use ready-made crusts. But in writing this post, I did take the time to dig a little deeper and found out that there are three distinct kinds of pastry crust: puff paste, standing, and short crust. The puff paste does take quite a bit of time to prepare, so I’m glad I didn’t worry too much about using that kind of crust for my adaptation of this receipt. If you’re curious, you can find out more over at Savoring the Past. For me, the store crust tasted good and was easy, too.
Two ingredients that I either don’t know where I’d find, if in fact I wanted to, or just didn’t bother looking: lamb-stones (i.e., testicles) and sweetbreads (i.e., pancreas). Here again, if you’re more adventurous than I am, go for it!
This is yet another recipe that calls for brown gravy made from the first recipe I adapted, the broth. I made a good quantity and then froze it in individual Ziploc bags to use as needed. Same with the broth, for that matter, as I didn’t want to have to make it frequently. Here’s one of the things hubby and I have discovered: we’re not as big a fan of so many dishes with rich sauces. Especially ones that use so much heavy spices like mace, cloves, and nutmeg. I think a decent substitute for this recipe instead of using the gravy would be to use a small amount of both the oyster liquor and the asparagus water and add the remaining ingredients into that. It would be a lighter taste, not quite as rich but still tasty. And fewer calories, too.
As I’ve said before for other recipes, I’m not a huge red wine fan and don’t typically have any on hand or open. So I used chardonnay instead. If you prefer red, though, that’s fine as well.
So here’s my recipe, which I may make a different version of later. I’m not sure I’ll make force-meat balls again, for instance. But only time will tell. Here goes:
Betty’s Lamb Pie
Pie crust for two-crust pie
½ pound lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces
Ground black pepper, to taste
Ground mace, to taste
Ground cloves, to taste
Ground nutmeg, to taste
2-3 oysters, chopped
16 force-meat balls, browned and drained
2 yolks of hard-boiled eggs
1 14.5-oz can asparagus spears, drained (I used 50% reduced sodium)
1 cup gravy
¼ cup oyster liquor
2 oz. white wine
1 egg, beaten
Lay one pie crust into 9” pie pan
Combine meat and seasonings in a small bowl; layer in pie pan
Add chopped oysters and browned meat balls, egg yolks, and asparagus
In a saucepan, combine the gravy, oyster liquor, wine, and egg. Stir well and heat until boiling.
Pour gravy into pie pan.
Add top crust and crimp edges as for any two-crust pie.
Place in a preheated 350 deg F oven for 45-60 minutes, until the crust is brown.
Note that I didn’t use butter “all over the pie” since I had poured the gravy mixture in which I figured would keep everything moist enough.
The resulting pie was very good if rich for our tastes. The overall concept is a good one, and one I can tinker with another time. So how adventurous are you with your recipes? Do you make your own crusts? Eat organ meats?
Starting next week we’ll be talking about fish and cooking techniques. Looking forward to trying to make lobster and salmon!
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Here’s the first book in the A More Perfect Union series, Emily’s Vow:
Emily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Despite her half-hearted protests, her father insists Frank Thomson is the perfect man for both her protection from the vengeful British and as a husband. Frank always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns Emily’s been imprisoned for her father’s privateering, he risks his own neck to free his love.
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