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Lamb Cutlets Reform
Lamb cutlets, with the end 1 inch of bone scraped clean of meat, coated with egg and rolled in a mixture of breadcrumbs and finely-chopped ham, cooked and presented with vegetables and a 'Reform' sauce.
The dish was invented in the 1830s by Alexis Soyer, head cook at the Reform Club in London's Pall Mall, then, as now, a favourite meeting place for politicians.
Original Receipt in The Gastronomic Regenerator by Alexis Soyer, 1848
Cotelettes de Mouton a la Reform
Chop a quarter of a pound of lean cooked ham very fine and mix it with the same quantity of bread crumbs, then have ten very nice cotelettes, lay them flat on your table season lightly with pepper and salt egg over with a paste brush and throw them into the ham and bread crumbs then beat them lightly with a knife. Put ten spoonfuls of oil in a saute pan, place it over the fire and when quite hot lay in the cotelettes, fry nearly ten minutes (over a moderate fire) of a light brown colour; to ascertain when done press your knife upon the thick part, if quite done it will feel rather firm; possibly they may not all be done at one time, so take out those that are ready first and lay them on a cloth till the others are done; as they require to be cooked with the gravy in them, dress upon a thin border of mashed potatoes in a crown with the bones pointing outwards; sauce over with a pint of the sauce reform and serve. If for a large dinner you may possibly be obliged to cook the cotelettes half an hour before in which case they must be very underdone and laid in a clean saute pan with two or three spoonfuls of thin glaze keep them in the hot closet moistening them occasionally with the glaze with a paste brush until ready to serve the same remark applies to every description of cotelettes
Sauce a la Reform
Cut up two middling sized onions into thin slices and put them into a stewpan with two sprigs of parsley two of thyme two bay leaves two ounces of lean uncooked ham half a clove of garlic half a blade of mace and an ounce of fresh butter stir them ten minutes over a sharp fire then add two tablespoonfuls of Tarragon vinegar and one of Chili vinegar, boil it one minute then add a pint of brown sauce or sauce Espagnole three tablespoonfuls of preserved tomates and eight of consomme place it over the fire until boiling; then put it at the corner; let it simmer ten minutes, skim it well then place it again over the fire, keeping it stirred and reduce until it adheres to the back of the spoon; then add a good tablespoonful of red currant jelly and half do of chopped mushrooms, season a little more if required with pepper and salt stir it until the jelly is melted then pass it through a tammie into another stewpan. When ready to serve make it hot and add the white of a hard boiled egg cut into strips half an inch long and thick in proportion, four white blanched mushrooms, one gherkin, two green Indian pickles and half an ounce of cooked ham or tongue, all cut in strips like the white of egg, do not let it boil afterwards. This sauce must be poured over whatever it is served with.
Auguste Escoffier, the 'Emperor of Chefs' provided this simplified explanation in 1903...
Original Receipt in Escoffier 1903;
COTELETTES DE MOUTON A LA REFORME
Trim six mutton cutlets; season them; dip them in melted butter, and roll them in bread-crumbs combined with finely-chopped ham in the proportion of a third of the weight of the bread-crumbs. Now cook them gently in clarified butter. Dish them in a circle on a hot dish, and send the following sauce to the table with them.
Put into a small stewpan and boil one pint of half-glaze sauce and one-half pint of ordinary Poivrade sauce. Complete with a garnish composed of one-half oz. of gherkins, one-half oz. of the hard-boiled white of an egg, one oz. of salted tongue, one oz. of truffles, and one oz. of mushrooms. All these to be cut Julienne-fashion and short.
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