Potted Meats

Method

Any tender and well-roasted meat, taken free of fat, skin, and gristle, as well as from the dry outsides, will answer for potting admirably, better indeed than that which is generally baked for the purpose, and which is usually quite deprived of its juices by the process. Spiced or corned beef also is excellent when thus prepared; and any of these will remain good a long time if mixed with cold fresh butter, instead of that which is clarified; but no addition that can be made to it will render the meat eatable, unless it be thoroughly pounded; reduced, in fact, to the smoothest possible paste, free from a single lamp or a morsel of unbroken fibre. If rent into fragments, instead of being quite cut through the grain in being minced, before it is put into the mortar, no beating will bring it to the proper state. Unless it be very dry, it is better to pound it for some time before any butter is added, and it must be long and patiently beaten after all the ingredients are mixed, that the whole may be equally blended and well mellowed in flavour.

The quantity of butter required will depend upon the nature of the meat; ham and salted beef will need a larger proportion than roast meat, or than the breasts of poultry and game; white fish, from being less dry, will require comparatively little. Salmon, lobsters, prawns, and shrimps are all extremely good, prepared in this way. They should, however, be perfectly fresh when they are pounded, and be set immediately afterwards into a very cool place. For these, and for white meats in general, mace, nutmeg, and cayenne or white pepper, are the appropriate spices. A small quantity of cloves may be added to hare and other brown meat, but allspice we would not recommend unless the taste is known to be in favour of it. The following receipt for pounding ham will serve as a general one for the particular manner of proceeding.

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