Margarita's International Recipes
Stewed cucumbers were commonly served in the 18th century. This recipe comes from The Devil Tavern, which had once been a London institution patronized by literary figures. It was included in the Country Housewife and Lady’s Director, a cookbook published in 1727.
Unfortunately this recipe did not work out for me. In part this was my fault, I forgot to coat the cucumbers in the flour and while I seasoned them, they still lacked flavor. Another problem was that The British Museum Cookbook (BMC), wherefrom I got the recipe, got the proportions wrong. While the original recipe called for two dozen cucumbers and 2 onions, BMC's called for two cucumbers and 4 onions. I ended up only using one large onion, but that was still too much.
The results were not impressive. The stewed just tasted like softer cucumbers, though the wine provided them with some sweetness. Nobody really liked them and I ended up throwing them away.
- 2 large cucumbers, unpeeled and sliced
- (1) 4 onions, finely chopped
- 3/4 – 1 3/4 cups light red wine
- (2 Tbsp well seasoned flour)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup water
Place cucumber slices, onions and ¼ cup of wine in a saucepan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain. Using a kitchen towel, dry cucumbers and onions. (Coat the cucumbers with the flour).
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the cucumber and onions and fry until they start to brown. Slowly add remaining wine and 1/2 cup water. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for a couple of minutes, adjust seasoning and serve.
To stew Cucumbers. From the _Devil-_Tavern, Fleet-street.
Take a dozen large green Cucumbers, that are not too full of Seed; pare them, and slice them; then take two large Onions, and shred them indifferently small. Put these in a Sauce-Pan, and set them over the Fire to stew, with as much Salt as you think convenient; stir them now and then, till they are tender, and then pour them into a Cullender to drain from the Water, and are as dry as possible you can make them; then flour them, and put some Pepper to them. After this, burn some Butter in a Frying-Pan; and when it is very hot, put in your Cucumbers, and stir them continually till they are brown; then put to them about a Gill of Claret; and when that is well mix'd with them, serve them hot, under roast Mutton or Lamb; or else, serve them on a Plate, upon Sippits fry'd and dip'd in Mutton or Beef Gravey.
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