Boiled leg of lamb à la béchamel

The period recipe here recommends boiling (as was the French standard way of cooking meat until 1814), but we would recommend that you roast the joint.


INGREDIENTS.—Leg of lamb,
INGREDIENTS.—1 small bunch of parsley, 2 cloves, 1/2 bay-leaf, 1 small faggot of savoury herbs, salt to taste; 3 or 4 mushrooms, when obtainable; 2 pints of white stock, 1 pint of cream, 1 tablespoonful of arrowroot.

Period Recipe

No. 751. Leg of lamb Mode.—Do not choose a very large joint, but one weighing about 5 lbs. Have ready a saucepan of boiling water, into which plunge the lamb, and when it boils up again, draw it to the side of the fire, and let the water cool a little. Then stew very gently for about 1–1/4 hour, reckoning from the time that the water begins to simmer. Make some Béchamel by recipe No. 367, dish the lamb, pour the sauce over it, and garnish with tufts of boiled cauliflower or carrots. When liked, melted butter may be substituted for the Béchamel: this is a more simple method, but not nearly so nice. Send to table with it some of the sauce in a tureen, and boiled cauliflowers or spinach, with whichever vegetable the dish is garnished.Time.—1–1/4 hour after the water simmers.Average cost, 10d. to 1s. per lb. Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.Seasonable from Easter to Michaelmas. No. 367. BECHAMEL, or FRENCH WHITE SAUCE.Mode.—Put the stock into a stewpan, with the parsley, cloves, bay-leaf, herbs, and mushrooms; add a seasoning of salt, but no pepper, as that would give the sauce a dusty appearance, and should be avoided. When it has boiled long enough to extract the flavour of the herbs, etc., strain it, and boil it up quickly again, until it is nearly half-reduced. Now mix the arrowroot smoothly with the cream, and let it simmer very gently for 5 minutes over a slow fire; pour to it the reduced stock, and continue to simmer slowly for 10 minutes, if the sauce be thick. If, on the contrary, it be too thin, it must be stirred over a sharp fire till it thickens. This is the foundation of many kinds of sauces, especially white sauces. Always make it thick, as you can easily thin it with cream, milk, or white stock.Time.—Altogether, 2 hours. Average cost, 1s. per pint.

Bon appetit

Source: The Book of Household Management, Mrs Isabella Beeton, Published Originally By S. O. Beeton in 24 Monthly Parts 1859–1861.

Type of Recipe