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.