To collar meat

We last looked at ‘collaring’ when we put together a Regency menu of beef and Yorkshire pudding for St George’s Day. Today’s first two recipes use the same technique of tightly rolling and binding meat, which is then pickled for use at a later date.

Nowadays, brawn (in its culinary sense) is often used to refer to a jellied preparation of pig’s head and tongue. In this Georgian recipe for collared brawn, it refers to the raw head meat. The meat is stripped from the skull before being salted, seasoned and boiled in a vinegar solution. Then, rolled up tightly in cloth, it is steeped in a strong pickle until tender and ready for use:

An 18th century recipe for collaring and pickling brawn from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

An 18th century recipe for collaring and pickling brawn from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

To Collar Brawn

Take a quarter of brawn, lay it in salt three days. Then take some all spice, cloves & mace & season it. Boyle it in a cloath very soft with some vinegar, salt & water till it be tender. Then rowl it over new with another cloath & fresh tape as hard as possible. Then let it be cold. Then boyle yr pickle with some brawn with a little fresh water. Let it be cold & keep ye brawn constantly in it tyed up. Make fresh liquor once a fortnight.

A very similar method is used to prepare breast of veal:

18th century recipe "to collar a breast of veal" from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

18th century recipe “to collar a breast of veal” from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

To Collar a Breast of Veal

Bone a large breast of veal, wash it clean, soak it in 2 or 3 waters. Dry it well. Season it with salt, pepper, cloves & mace, some sweet herbs. Dip it all over in a batter of eggs. Roll it up hard in a cloth. Boyle it in salt & water, vinigar & allspice. Boyle it well & skim it. Take out yr collar & keep it in this pickle when both are cold.

But collared meat needn’t be pickled at all. In the following recipe for mutton collars, the meat is served up hot in a rich, flavoursome gravy with a colourful garnish of lemon and red cabbage. There’s also an innovative technique for keeping the mutton moist: it is baked in a pot along with white bread and water and sealed with a pastry lid:

This 18th century recipe for collaring mutton creates a colourful impression of work in the Georgian kitchen

This 18th century recipe for collaring mutton creates a colourful impression of work in the Georgian kitchen

Mutton Collars

Take a breast & neck of mutton, bone it, spread it on ye dresser. Take ye yolks of 3 eggs boyled hard & shred small, half a lemon peel shread, 3 anchoves shred, some shives, thyme, some pepper & allspice pounded. Strow these all over ye in side of ye meat but first rub ye in side with the white of an egg. Then clap the breast on the neck & roll ym up hard with a tape & cloth in a collar. Bake it in a crok with white bread, fill’d up with water & cover’d with paste. When it coms out, take it out of ye crok & let it lye till next day in ye cloth. Then take it out & cut it in 3 collars the height of yr hand. Then toss up a sauce of strong greavy, white wine, anchoves shred, lemon peel & onion, thyme & parsley, pepper, all spice, a lump of butter roll’d in flower. Toss these up together, then heat the collars in it. You must have a good deal of liquor, for you must allow for waste in heating yr collars. Garnish yr dish with slices of lemon & red cabbage.

There’s some lovely imagery in this recipe – the meat being spread out on the kitchen dresser, the ‘clap’ as one cut is laid on the other for rolling… Further clues as to what work was like in the kitchens of our ‘unknown ladies’.

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The roast beef of old England

What better way to mark St George’s Day than by sitting down to a dish of beef and Yorkshire pudding?

The beef recipe below describes the technique of ‘collaring’: boning, salting and binding meat in a tight roll. Cooked slowly, the pressed meat would become so tender that it could be sliced like a ham.

Collaring was sometimes used as the first phase of preserving meat. Once seasoned and rolled, the meat could be boiled and left to pickle in its salty juices. Here, however, the beef is baked rather than boiled, being first steeped in a rich liquid of red wine, spice and salt.

An 18th century recipe for collaring beef, from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

An 18th century recipe for collaring beef, from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

To Collar Beef

Take a plate of beef & bone it & put it in spring water for 4 & twenty hours. Then, take it out & dry it. Season it with pepper, salt, mace & 2 penny worth of salt peter & 1 pint of clarret. Lay it all night in these & get a great deal of sweet herbs, cut them small & lay them on the inside of the beef & bind it up very hard with tape & put it in yr pan for baking with 2 unnions. You may cover it or not. If it be not very large, it will take 5 hours baking.

For a more traditional beef dinner, put your joint of beef on a trivet over a roasting pan. This 19th century recipe explains how to use the drippings from the meat to make excellent Yorkshires:

How to make yorkshire puddings the Regency way.

How to make Yorkshire pudding the Regency way

Yorkshire Pudding under Roast Meat (19th century)

Six tablespoonfuls of flour, three eggs, a teaspoonful of salt and a pint of milk to make a middling stiff batter. Beat it up well and take care it is not lumpy. Put a dish under the meat and let the drippings drip into it till it is quite hot and well greased. Then pour in the batter. When the upper dish is brown and set, turn it that both sides may be alike. If the pudding is an inch thick, it will take two hours at a good fire.