Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/851

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1335.—VENISON, SHOULDER OF. (See Venison, Haunch of, Roasted. Also Venison, Stewed.)

1336.—VENISON STEWED. (Fr.Ragoût de Venaison.)

Ingredients.—A shoulder of venison well hung and boned, a few thin slices of mutton fat (preferably off the best end of a neck), ¼ of a pint of port, 1½ pint of stock, ½ a teaspoonful of peppercorns, ½ a teaspoonful of whole allspice, salt and pepper, red-currant jelly.

Method.—Pour the wine over the slices of mutton fat, and let them remain for 2 or 3 hours. Flatten the venison with a cutlet-bat or rolling-pin, season liberally with salt and pepper, and cover with the slices of mutton fat. Roll up lightly, bind securely with tape, put it into a stew-pan already containing the boiling stock and the bones from the joint. Add the wine in which the mutton fat was soaked, the peppercorns and allspice, cover closely, and simmer very gently from 3 to 3½ hours. Serve with the gravy strained over, and send red-curreant jelly to table separately.

Time.—To cook the vension, from 3 to 3½ hours. Average Cost, 1s 6d. per lb. Sufficient for 10 or 12 persons. Seasonable September to January, but may be bought from June.

The New Venison.—The deer population of our splendid English parks was, for a very long time, limited to two species, the fallow and the red. But as the fallow-deer itself was an acclimatized animal, of comparatively recent introduction, it came to be a question why might not the proprietor of any deer-park in England have the luxury of at least half a dozen species of deer and antelopes, to adorn the hills, dales, ferny brakes and rich pastures of his domain? The temperate regions of the whole world might be made to yield specimens of the noble ruminant, valuable either for their individual beauty, or for their availability to gastronomic purposes.

We are indebted for the introduction of foreign deer to some English nobleman, who have made the experiment of breeding them in their parks, and have obtained such a decided success that it may be hoped their example will induce others to follow in a course which will eventually give to England's rural scenery a new element of beauty, and to English tables a fresh viand of the choicest character.

A practical solution of this interesting question was made by Viscount Hill, at Hawkestone Park Salop, in January, 1859. On that occasion a magnificent eland, an acclimated scion of the species whose native home is the South African wilderness, was killed for the table. The noble beast was thus described: "He weighed 1,176 lb. as he dropped; huge as a short-horn, but with bone not half the size; active as a deer, stately in all his paces, perfect in form, bright in color, with a vast dewlap, and strong-sculptured horn. This eland in his lifetime strode majestic on the hill-side, where he dwelt with his mates and their progeny, all English born, like himself." Three pairs of the same species of deer were left to roam at large on the picturesque slopes throughout the day, and to return to their home at pleasure. Here, during winter, they are assisted with roots and hay, but in summer they have nothing but the pasture of the park; so that, in point of expense, they cost no more than cattle of the best description. The male eland is unapproached in the quality of his flesh by any ruminant in South Africa; it grows to an enormous size, and lays on fat with as great facility as a true short-horn, while in texture and flavour it is infinitely superior. The lean is remarkably fine, the fat firm and delicate. It has been tried in every fashion—braised brisket, roasted ribs, broiled steaks, filet saute, boiled aitchbone, etc.—and in all these points has demonstrated that a new meat of surpassing has been added to the products of the English park.