A very old recipe, though this version comes from a late eighteenth-century collection. At this time it would not have had haricot beans, which had not then been introduced into England. The word ‘haricot’ had probably been mixed up with the word ‘halicot’, to chop finely. However, only slightly later recipes have white and red haricot beans.
Soak the haricot beans overnight. Drain and cook them in salted water for 1 hour. Drain and reserve.
This recipe was served with the gravy unthickened but slightly later recipes always had the mutton rubbed in flour before frying and some form of gravy browning added. Some had the stock poured off and thickened with roux before putting back over the meat.
In the early nineteenth century the same quantity of beans were added as of meat, and potatoes were omitted. Butter beans can also be used, and these are excellent bought ready in tins and then added only for the last 10 minutes. Green beans, such as lima, are also good.
©1975 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton