UnBooks:Mrs. Lovett's Best Loved Meat Pie Recipes
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Mrs. Lovett’s Best Love Meat Pie Recipes was first published in London in 1848 by the House of Sweeney Todd. The book caused an instant stir when it hit the book stands, because it solved the Victorian era problem of the poor and undernourished by doing away with the poor and undernourished. By putting them to good use, Mrs. Lovett's recipes cut the welfare rolls and did away with debtors prisons once and for all.
The recipes were unlike most things associated with English cooking; the dishes were surprisingly tasty and tasteful, and became a favorite at the tables of the wretched to wealthy. The book fell out of favor in the 1880s when inexpensive forms of refrigeration became affordable for the poor, improving their diets and thus their ability to out run would be cooks who insisted they join their families for dinner.
In these times of ours, when meals are pricey and our cupboards bare, I happened one day to stumble upon an opportunity to feed those who boarded at me house that I would have otherwise never considered. It was a prime piece of meat, recently killed that would otherwise just be tossed out, and I said to myself, “why this is perfectly good in some certain places of the world, ‘tis a shame to just throw it to Sexton.” Morally, however I was at a tither; the beast was dead, and that was sure, but what would me Mum say – so I pondered. And then it came to me. She would say “never trust the cooking of clean cook,” and she was right - what cook doesn't have their secrets, right? That gave me the inspiration that I share with you now.
First, with the high price of store meat, you’d be lucky to find a pound for a pence of even the rankest mutton, and with so many prime cuts just walking about for the picking for a little cunning and effort, you want make sure that you choose carefully. The key to success is: universally, the beast should match dish.
Putting it down usually requires a good sharp knife, and simple slice to the throat works best, and keeps it Kosher for the Hebrews at yer table too. However yer efforts should be done in a place that doesn’t draw attention to your harvest. In general people don’t enjoy a meal as much as they could if they witness your machinations – and every good cook has an "heir" of mystery about their dishes, don’t they.
The key to working with a cheap piece of meat is to give it a good grinding. As a matter of fact, I recommend that you run it through the grinder a good three times. No one enjoys biting into the grizzle, do they now.
Basic Recipe for Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies:
1 lb. well-ground priest, lawyer, bishop, vicar, Royal Marine, or actor
2 potatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup beef broth
1 tablespoon each thyme, basil and oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup flour
Pastry (enough for double-crust pie)
1½ quarts canola oil (it's quicker and easier to fry them than to bake them. Safer, too, especially when Mr. Todd is about...)
Directions: Brown meat, add diced potatoes, onion, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
Add flour and stir until mixture thickens; filling should be nice and thick (like a pot pie filling).
Roll out pastry by the handful, spoon half-full with meat filling, brush edges with egg yolk, fold pastry over and crimp edges.
Fry in hot oil for 1 minute each, until dark golden brown. Serve with ice cold ale (washing with gin not necessary).
edit Best Loved Dishes
edit Priest Pie
This is one of Mrs. Lovett's best. Critics have described it as "heavenly", and to be surpassed only by the Papal Casserole. As told by the name, you only need a plump priest. First, find a proper contender, then, get him to let you shave him. If you know anything, than you should be able to predict what happens next. It is imperative that you get all four major arteries, lest you want a bleeding priest walking out and exposing your lack of culinary abilities. After shearing the meat from the bones and putting it through the grinder, you should get several dozen pies. Be sure to save some by freezing the pies and later reheating, because you don't know when his replacement at the church will be fishin' 'round for an invite to dinner.
edit Fillet of Beef Prince Albert Meat Pie
I have been dreaming of making this, however the main ingredient is elusive, so this is all theoretical, of course. However for this dish, you need a special specimen, one raised in Germany – from the royal stocks. After the bleeding, I would shave this one down and then age it by hanging it from the ring. After a good month or so of curing I would go for the loin, thinly shaved, and then slow roast it in a blast oven until done. Be sure to enrobing it with a fine English white sauce, and back into the blast furnace until the pastry is a tender flaky brown. Garnish with the teats and serve with potatoes Victoria.
edit Milk Maid Meat Pie
Made from the fairer sex – corn fed and country raised is best – the core ingredient usual comes to you each morning with a delivery of dairy goods, so this is a good thing to make on those days that you prefer not to hunt or gather. After clubbing it, hack it into pieces and into the grinder she goes. No need to slather the gears up with tallow – this one is always tender and easy to break down. Thrice through – no need to spoil the breakfast meal biting into a finger if you get my drift. After grinding, brown the meat in fresh butter and crème – as I said, this one practically cooks herself - until done. Then into a pastry she goes and then into the blast furnace for a time until golden brown. Did she happen to bring fresh eggs with her? Then scramble them up and serve. Yum, yum!
edit Fillet of Soul a la Vicar
This one is easy enough to get: it prays for you as much as you prey on it. It tries to save you from eternal hell fury and fire, and yet you have to stew it for a month of Sundays to get it tender before packing in a pie with a wafer thin crust and tossing it into the blast furnace. If the crust is over done, you should hope that no one pays attention to this sin! After removing from the oven, let it cool down good before serving it with a right good glass of wholly water (the less cloudy the better).
edit Oysters Rockefeller Meat Pie
Never one to let things go to waste, after cooking with this book for a while, you should have a right large pile of oysters just sitting there screaming to be used. Oysters re-hydrate if withered to limp husks, just set in tepid, lightly tepid crème and move them about every now and then. Once buoyant, dish them up into the pastry, cook down the crème until it begins to clot slightly, and then pour over the oysters and cover with a pastry top. Into the blast furnace it goes and remove when golden brown. You serve this dish slight warm, and never to women; this is a manly dish – it will put hair on their chest, satisfaction on your face and a deep timbre in yer voice.
edit About the Author
Cunning and a terrific cook, Mrs. Margerie Lovett is the widow of Albert Lovett the noted singing dock worker popularized in Charles Dickens' beloved tale Oliver Twist and Shout. Mrs. Lovett was last seen in her bakehouse, dancing happily about her blast furnace, ready to plunge into her work creating tasty reheated meaty treats.