Beef a la Mode (1875) ★★★★★

Perhaps it's a bit early in the year for stews, but regardless, this is a nice, simple recipe for when you're too lazy to do much cooking.

Original Recipe:
2. Beef a la Mode.- Procure about ten pounds' weight of buttock, and cut it into bits of about a quarter of a pound each. Chop a couple of large onions very fine, and put them into a large stewpan, with a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, or fresh and well clarified beef dripping. Whilst this is warming, cover the pieces of beef with flour; put them into the pan, and stir them for ten minutes, adding a little more flour by slow degrees, and taking great care the meat does not burn. Pour in, a little at a time, a gallon of boiling water, then add a couple of drachms of ground allspice, one of black pepper, and a couple of bay leaves. Let all this stew, on a low fire and very gently, for three hours and a quarter; ascertain with a fork if the meat be tender: if so, you may serve it in a tureen or deep dish. A well dressed salad is the proper accompaniment of Boeuf a la Mode.

The Verdict:
Er, well, I didn't want to buy 10 pounds of meat, so I used more like 2 pounds, but I also forgot to reduce the amount of butter haha. Oops. Anyway, it all worked out because this tasted great! Mr. Man even said, and I quote, "This is so good, I'm about to fight you for your portion." It did need salt, however, and I think some carrots or other vegetables in the stew would have been nice, but then again we didn't have any salad with this because I didn't have the ingredients. We ate ours over rice, by the way, which probably isn't authentic, but it was yummy. I'm posting the recipe with the amounts as written, so if you make this, you'll probably want to divide the recipe in half or quarters.

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from Things a Lady Would Like to Know)

10 pounds BEEF ROUND
2 ONIONS, chopped
1/2 cup BUTTER or BEEF DRIPPINGS (bacon grease might be tasty!)
2 - 3 teaspoons ALLSPICE
1 teaspoon PEPPER

1. Cut the beef into 4 ounce portions. Lightly coat each piece in flour.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot and lightly fry the onions. Add the floured beef and cook on medium-high, browning both sides of the beef.
3. When the meat is browned, add a little flour to thicken the butter and pour in the boiling water, a little at a time. Mix well.
4. Add the allspice, pepper, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Let it all simmer for 3 hours and 15 minutes, or until it is easily shredded with a fork. Stir occassionally, especially near the end when the sauce is cooking down. Serve it in a deep dish, accompanied with salad.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.

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