War Rationing Mutton and Rice Stew
The choice of food available to us is enormous. If we feel like it, mostly we can eat whatever we want, dependent of course upon where you live. Compare this with food shortages during and after the First World War. There was little choice and so the same ingredients were made into a variety of dishes. I have included on the blog some mutton recipes, and here is another. This one, however, was specifically written with rationing in mind by Dorothy Peel in the The Eat-Less Meat Book 1918:
‘Ingredients. – 2 or 3 lb. scrag end of neck of mutton, 3 lb of onion, carrot, turnip, mixed seasoning, parsley, 2oz. rice. Method. – Take the scrag end of neck of mutton and wash it. Then divide it and remove what fat you can. Place it in a pan with an onion, a carrot, and a turnip cut into dice, salt, parsley, also 2oz. of rice. Cover and simmer quite gently for four hours. Before serving remove the bones, leaving the meat in the broth. The proportions are about 2 lb. of scag to 3lb of vegetables and two quarts of water. Taste the broth to see that it is well seasoned, and serve very hot.’
There are ways in which this dish can be made a little more exciting though the point is in its simplicity dictated by necessity. So while you see above exactly what the recipe is, I have altered it just a little so that it may appeal more:
50g fat (butter, plain oil, lard, dripping)
2 onions, diced
1 small turnip, diced
Make up the weight of vegetables to 1.5lb/670g with diced carrots
lb/453g scrag end of mutton
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 strip lemon rind
200mls red wine
1 litre/1 3/4 pints chicken stock
1. Fry the vegetables in the fat until a little tender.
2. Add the tomato puree and stir in.
3. Set the veg aside and fry the mutton until lightly coloured.
4. Return the veg to the pan with the parsley and bay leaf with the mutton and add the wine.
5. Cover with the stock and simmer for 4 hours, though add the rice in the last twenty minutes.
6. Serve with grated lemon zest and parsley.
We had this in its original form, photographed above. I’m afraid our 21st century palates demanded that it be spiced up a bit. So if you do not want to have the original form taken directly from the War Rationing book in italics above, I give you a tasty alternative.