Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/658

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991.—BAKED SHOULDER OF MUTTON, STUFFED. (Fr.Epaule de Mouton Farcie.)

Ingredients.—A small shoulder of mutton, veal forcemeat, No. 396, ¾ of a pint of stock, 1 oz. of butter, ¾ of an oz. of flour, 2 or 3 ozs. of dripping, salt and pepper.

Method.—Have all the bones removed from the shoulder, and boil them down for stock. Flatten the meat, using either a wetted cutlet-bat or rolling-pin for the purpose. Season well with salt and pepper, spread on the forcemeat, roll up tightly and bind securely with string. Have ready the baking-tin with the dripping melted, baste the meat well, put it into a moderate oven, and cook gently for 1½ hours, basting frequently. Meanwhile fry together the butter and flour until a brown roux, or thickening, is formed, strain on to it ¾ of a pint of stock made from the bones (which should be boiled for at least 2 hours), stir the sauce until it boils, and season to taste. When the meat has cooked for 1½ hours, drain off every particle of fat, but leave the sediment in the tin, pour in the brown sauce, return to the oven, and cook ½ an hour longer, basting frequently. When ready, serve on a hot dish, pour a little of the sauce over the meat, and send the remainder to table in a sauce-boat.

Time.—To prepare and cook, about 2½ hours. Average Cost, 9d. to 10d. per lb.

Note.—Either leg, loin or neck of mutton may be cooked according to the above recipe; and when preferred, onion farce, or stuffing, No. 404, may be substituted for the veal forcemeat.

The Poets on Sheep.—The keeping of flocks was one of the earliest employments of mankind, and the most ancient kind of poetry was probably pastoral. The oldest representations we have of the poetic character of pastoral life are those found in books of the Old Testament, which describe the shepherd life of the patriarchs. Pastoral poetry in the classic sense of the term had its origin in Greece, and Theocritus (third century b.c.) is the earliest and most illustrious of the pastoral poets. Virgil at a later period represents pastoral poetry in Roman literature, his Bucolics with charming grace setting forth the simplicity and sweetness of country life. Tasso and Ronsard wrote on pastoral subjects; and among our English poetical works are Spencer's Shepherd's Calendar, Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, Gay's Shepherd's Week, Gray's Elegy, Thomson's Seasons, and Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd. In all such pastorals the allusions to the sheep are only of inferior importance to the shepherds who attend them, and these have furnished innumerable figures and similes. Shakespeare