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Mutton

Mutton is very nutritious and easily digested. The best quality will have clear, hard, white fat, and a good deal of it; the lean part will be juicy, firm and of a rather dark red color. When there is but little fat, and that is soft and yellow and the meat is coarse and stringy, you may be sure that the quality is poor. Mutton is much improved by being hung in a cool place for a week or more. At the North a leg will keep quite well for two or three weeks in winter, if hung in a cold, dry shed or cellar. Mutton, like beef, is first split through the back, and then the sides are divided, giving two fore and two hind quarters. Diagram No. 18 is of a whole carcass of mutton, and half of it is numbered to show the pieces into which the animal is cut for use.

Explanation of Diagram No. 18

1, 2, 4. Hind quarter.

3, 5, 5. Fore quarter

1. Leg.
2. Loin.
3. Shoulder.
4. Flank.
5,5. Breast.

Hind Quarter of Mutton

This consists of the leg and loin, and is the choicest cut. It makes a fine roast for a large family, but for a moderate-sized or small one either the leg or loin alone is better. A hind quarter taken from a prime animal will weigh from twenty to thirty pounds.

Leg of Mutton

This joint is nearly always used for roasting and boiling. It has but little bone, as compared with the other parts of the animal, and is, therefore, an economical piece to select, though the price per pound be greater than that of any other cut. It is not common to find a good leg weighing under ten or twelve pounds. A leg is shown in plate No. 19.

Leg of Mutton

Loin of Mutton

In a loin, as cut in Boston, there are seven ribs, which make a good roast for a small family. This cut is particularly nice in hot weather. It is not as large as a leg, and the meat is, besides, of a lighter quality and more delicate flavor. The cost when the flank is taken off will be about seven cents more a pound than if the loin be sold with it on; but, unless you wish to use the flank for a soup, stew or haricot, it is the better economy to buy a trimmed piece and pay the higher price. When the two loins are joined they are called a saddle. Plate No. 20 shows a saddle and two French chops.

Saddle of Mutton and French Chops

Fore Quarter of Mutton

In this is included the shoulder and breast. When the shoulder-blade is taken out the quarter makes a good roast for a large family. The shoulder is separated from the breast by running a sharp knife between the two, starting at the curved dotted lines near the neck (shown in diagram No. 18), and cutting round to the end of the line. The shoulder is nice for roasting or boiling. The breast can be used for a roast, for broths, braising, stewing or cotelettes. Rib chops are also cut from the breast, which is, by the way, the cheapest part of the mutton.

Chops and Cutlets

Chops are cut from the loin. They are called long when the flank is cut on them and short if without it. When part of the bone of the short chop is scraped clean it is called a French chop. The rolled chops sold by provision dealers are the long chops with the bone removed. One often sees them selling at a low price. They are then the poor parts of the mutton, like the flank, and will be found very expensive no matter how little is asked.

Prices

The price of mutton varies with the seasons, but a table giving the average price may help the purchaser to an estimate of the comparative cost of each cut:

    Hind Quarter,          15 cents
    Leg,                   17 cents
    Loin, with flank,      13 cents
    Loin, without flank,   20 cents
    Fore Quarter,           8 cents
    Trimmed Chops,         20 cents
    Untrimmed Chops,       12 cents

When one has a large family it brings all kinds of meat considerably cheaper to buy large pieces untrimmed, as the trimmings can be used for soups, stews, etc.; but for a small family, it is much better to purchase only the part you want for immediate use. Although mutton costs less per pound than beef, it is no cheaper in the end, because to be good it must be fat, and mutton fat, unlike beef fat, cannot be employed for cooking purposes, as it gives a strong flavor to any article with which it is used.

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Source

Miss Parloa's New Cook Book.


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