Forcemeat was used as a tasty garnish and stuffing in many Georgian dishes, from calf’s head hash to rather more dainty côtelettes à la Maintenon. We’ve even see it used to form a lid over a dish of baked snipes.
The earliest recipe in our Cookbook is attributed to a Mrs Purify (possibly a spelling variation of Purefoy). Here she shares her way of making ‘forced meat’. These small rolled balls of minced meat are packed with flavour: seasonal herbs, bacon, chopped onion and plenty of seasoning.
Mrs Purifys Way to Make Forced Meat
Take a pd of a loyne of veal & half a pound of beef suit, half a pound of bacon. Shred them very small. Put in some grated bread, a little bit of onion as you love it, some thyme & parsly. Season it with pepper, salt & mace, cloves. Then work it up with 3 or 4 eggs & roll it up into balls.
A later, Regency recipe from Dr Kitchiner’s Cook’s Oracle gives a very similar method, with just a couple of tweaks in the flavouring. The quantities are different: this makes less than a quarter of the mixture proposed in 18th century method. So, unless you’re planning on feeding a veritable army, this may be the recipe to follow!
Of undressed lean veal scraped quite fine, two ounces the same of beef (or veal) suet, the same of bread crumbs. Chop fine two drachms of parsley, one of lemon peel, one of sweet herbs, one of onion, half a drachm of mace or allspice beaten to a fine powder. Pound all well together, mix with an egg and season with pepper and salt.