Forcemeat - Definition and Recipes

Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery

Forcemeats are indispensable for performing fine work and are liked by good livers; they are principally used for hors-d'oeuvre, garnishing, removes and entrées; for stuffing breasts or shoulders of veal, poultry, game and fish.

They are also necessary to form borders, for holding the garnishing and for large timbales; they must always be prepared in advance with the very freshest meats, otherwise they are likely to be of little good and liable to spoil, this being of the greatest importance to observe, and be sure to keep them on ice until needed.

Always be careful when composing a menu, not to have too many dishes containing forcemeats, for they will detract from the simplicity and natural plainness of a dinner.

Raw chicken, veal, game, fish, etc., scraped and pounded to a pulp with raw eggs, sifted and mixed with cream or other fat, and sometimes with sauce or panada, is called forcemeat. The most delicate of all entrees are made with forcemeat.

A forcemeat without panada is the most delicate, then comes forcemeat made with flour panada, and the firmest forcemeat of all is that made with a bread panada.

The chicken, fish, etc., used as the foundation of forcemeat, and which gives the name to the dish, should be very fresh. This is true of all articles cooked by other means than roasting and broiling.

Forcemeat in which panada is used is sometimes called quenelle forcemeat, and  varieties in which there is no panada mousseline forcemeat; still, while the first is  perhaps better adapted for quenelles, which are often cooked without molds, either variety may be used in any dish where forcemeat is called for.

Tools and Utensils Used to Make Forcemeat

Machine Used to Remove Nerves

Machine Used to Remove Nerves © 1916 The Epicurean

Metal Sieve

Metal Sieve © 1916 The Epicurean

Morter to Process Forcemeat

Morter to Process Forcemeat © 1916 The Epicurean


  • Panada is a preparation of bread which is used by the French in making forcemeat, and is much superior to the grated crumbs ordinarily used in English kitchens. The flavoring required for the whole of the forcemeat is generally put into the panada, and this flavoring is therefore a matter of considerable importance.
  • Panada is made as follows:
  • Slice the crumb of two French rolls into a basin, and pour over it as much boiling milk or broth as will cover it.
  • Let it soak for half an hour, or until it is quite moist, then press it with a plate to squeeze out the superfluous liquid;  afterwards put it into a cloth, and wring it thoroughly.
  • Put an ounce of fresh butter into an enameled saucepan, with a little pepper and salt, half a blade of mace, powdered, or a little grated nutmeg, half a tea-spoonful of powdered thyme, two tablespoons of minced parsley, half a dozen chopped mushrooms, and a slice of lean ham, cut into dice; a bay-leaf may be added or not.
  • Stew those ingredients over the fire for a minute or two, then add the soaked bread and two tablespoons of good white sauce or gravy.
  • Stir the mixture over a gentle fire, until it forms a dry smooth paste and leaves the sides of the saucepan, then mix in the unbeaten yolks of two eggs; put the preparation between two plates, and when cool it is ready for use.
  • If preferred, instead of mixing the herbs and seasoning with the panada, the gravy or sauce may be simmered with the seasoning, until it is highly flavored, and then strained over the broad.
  • In making the forcemeat, equal quantities should be taken of whatever meat is to be used, panada and butter should be pounded together in a mortar, until they are thoroughly blended.



  • Put one-half lb. of the crumb of bread and one-half oz. of salt into one-half pint of boiling milk. When the crumb has absorbed all the milk, place the saucepan over a brisk fire and stir with a spatula until the paste has become so thick as not to cling any longer to the end of the spatula.
  • Turn the contents of the saucepan into a buttered platter, and lightly butter the surface of the panada in order to avoid its drying while it cools.


  • Put into a small saucepan one-half pint of water, a little salt, and two oz. of butter. When the liquid boils add five oz. of sifted flour thereto, stirring the while over a brisk fire until it reaches the consistence described in the case of bread panada. Use the same precautions with regard to cooling.



  • Put into a stew pan four oz. of sifted flour, the yolks of four eggs, a little salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Now add by degrees three oz. of melted butter and dilute with one-half pint of boiled milk.
  • Pass through a strainer, stir over the fire until the boil is reached; set to cook for five minutes while gently wielding the whisk, and cool as in the preceding cases.



  • Remove the tendons from, and cut into cubes, one lb. of chicken-meat.
  • Pound, and add one-third oz. of salt, a little pepper and nutmeg. When the meat is well pounded remove it from the mortar, and place in its stead one-half lb. of very cold panada (see above).
  • Finely pound this panada, and then add one-half lb. of butter thereto, taking care that the two ingredients mix thoroughly.
  • Now put in the chicken-meat, and wield the pestle vigorously until the whole mass is completely mixed.
  • Finally, add consecutively two whole eggs and the yolks of four, stirring incessantly the while and seeing that each egg is only inserted when the one preceding it has become perfectly incorporated with the mass. Rub through a sieve, put the forcemeat into a basin, and smooth it with a wooden spoon.
  • Test the forcemeat by poaching a small portion of it in salted, boiling water. This test, which is indispensable, allows of rectifying the seasoning and the consistence if necessary.
  • If it be found that the forcemeat is too light, a little white of egg could be mingled with it; if, on the other hand, it should be too stiff add a little softened butter.
  • N.B.-By substituting for chicken veal, game, or fish, etc., any kind of forcemeat may be made; for the quantities of the other ingredients remain the same whatever the basic meat may be.


  • Finely pound one lb. of chicken-meat after having removed the tendons, and seasoned with one-quarter oz. of salt, a little pepper and nutmeg.
  • When the meat has been reduced to a fine paste, add, very gradually, two oz. of white of egg.
  • Finish with seven oz. of Frangipan panada, and work vigorously with the pestle until the whole is amalgamated.
  • Strain through a fine sieve, put the forcemeat into a vegetable-pan sufficiently large to allow of ultimately working it with ease, and place it on ice for a good hour.
  • This done, stir the forcemeat (still on the ice) for a few seconds with a wooden spoon, then add, in small quantities at a time, one pint of raw cream.
  • At this stage complete the preparation by adding thereto one-half pint of whipped cream. It should then be found to be very white, smooth, and mellow.
  • Test as directed in the preceding recipe, and add a little white of egg if it be too light, and a little cream if it be too stiff.
  • N.B.-This forcemeat may be prepared from all butcher's meats, game, or fish.


  • Remove the tendons from, trim, and cut into cubes, one lb. of chicken-meat. Season with one oz. of salt, a little pepper and nutmeg.
  • Finely pound, and, when it is reduced to a paste, gradually add the whites of two eggs, vigorously working with the pestle meanwhile.
  • Strain through a fine sieve, put the forcemeat into a vegetable-pan, stir it once more with the wooden spoon for a moment or two, and combine with it, gradually, one pint of thick, fresh cream, working with great caution and keeping the receptacle on ice.
  • Relative to Mousseline Forcemeat. This may be prepared from any kind of meat. The addition of the white of egg is not essential if the meats used already possess a certain quantity of albumen; but without the white of egg the forcemeat absorbs much less cream.
  • This forcemeat is particularly suited to preparations with a shell-fish base. Incomparably delicate results are obtained by the process, while it also furnishes ideal quenelles for the purpose of garnishing soup. In a word, it may be said of mousseline forcemeat that, whereas it can replace all other kinds, none of these can replace it.


  • Remove the tendons of, and cut into large cubes, two lbs. of fillet of pork, and the same weight of fresh, fat bacon.
  • Season with one and three-quarter oz. of spiced salt, chop the fillet and bacon up, together or separately, pound them finely in the mortar, and finish with two eggs and two tablespoons of brandy.
  • This forcemeat is used for ordinary pies and terrines. Strictly speaking, it is “ sausage-meat.” The inclusion of eggs in this forcemeat really only obtains when it is used to stuff joints that are to be braised, such as stuffed breast of veal; or in the case of pies and terrines. The addition of the egg in these cases prevents the grease from melting too quickly, and thus averts the drying of the forcemeat.



  • Remove the tendons from, and cut into cubes, one lb. of fillet of veal and as much fillet of pork; add to these two lbs. of fresh, fat bacon, also cut into cubes.
  • Season with three oz. of spiced salt, chop the three ingredients together or apart, and then finely pound them.
  • Finish with three eggs and three tablespoons of burnt brandy, strain through a sieve, and place in a basin.
  • When about to serve this stuffing, add to it a little fumet corresponding with the meat that is to constitute the dish.
  • For terrines, pies, and galantines of game, one-quarter or one-fifth of the forcemeat's weight of gratin stuffing is added.



  • Remove the tendons from, and cut into cubes, one lb. of fillet of veal; also pare, i.e., detach skin and filaments from, two lbs. of the very dry fat of kidneys of beef.
  • First, chop these up separately, then combine and pound them in the mortar. Season with one-half oz. of salt, a little pepper, some nutmeg, and pound afresh until the veal and fat become a homogeneous mass.
  • Now add four eggs, consecutively, and at intervals of a few minutes, without ceasing to pound, and taking care only to insert each egg after the preceding one has been properly mixed with the mass.
  • Spread the forcemeat thus prepared on a dish, and put the latter on ice until the next day.
  • The next day pound once more, and add little by little fourteen oz. of very clean ice (in small pieces); or, instead, an equal weight of iced water, adding this also very gradually.
  • When the godiveau is properly moistened, poach a small portion of it in boiling water in order to test its consistence. If it be too firm, add some more ice to it; if, on the other hand, it seem too flimsy, add a little of the white of an egg.


  • Chop finely and apart one lb. of very white fillet of veal, with tendons removed, cut into cubes, and one lb. of the fat of pared kidney of beef.
  • Combine the veal and the fat in the mortar, and pound until the two ingredients form a fine and even paste.
  • Season with one half oz. of salt, a little pepper, and some nutmeg, and add consecutively two eggs and two yolks, after the manner of the preceding recipe and without ceasing to pound.
  • Strain through a sieve, spread the forcemeat on a dish, and keep it on ice until the next day.
  • Next day pound the forcemeat again for a few minutes, and add to it, little by little, one and one-half pints of cream.
  • Test as before, and rectify if necessary, either by adding cream or by thickening with the white of an egg.


  • The exact weight of chicken-meat used as the base of this forcemeat determines the quantities of its other ingredients.
  • Thus the weight of meat afforded by a fowl weighing four lbs. is estimated at twenty oz. after deducting the fillets which are always reserved. Hence the quantities for the forcemeat are regulated thus:  Chicken-meat, twenty oz.; lean pork, eight oz.; fillet of veal, eight oz.; fresh, fat bacon, thirty oz.; whole eggs, five; spiced salt, two oz.; brandy, one-fifth pint.
  • Chop up, either together or apart, the chicken-meat, the veal, the pork, and the bacon.
  • Put all these into the mortar, pound them very finely with the seasoning, add the eggs consecutively, and, last of all, pour in the brandy.
  • REMARKS: The quantity of spiced salt varies, a few grammes either way, according as to whether the atmosphere be dry or damp.
  • According to the purpose of the forcemeat, and with a view to giving it a finer flavor, one may, subject to the resources at one's disposal, add a little raw trimmings of foie gras to it; but the latter must not, in any case, exceed one-fifth of the forcemeat
  • in weight.
  • As a rule, forcemeat should always be rubbed through a sieve so as to ensure its being fine and even.
  • Whether the foie gras be added or not, chicken forcemeat may always be completed with two or three oz. of chopped truffles per lb. of its volume.


  • This follows the same principles as the chicken forcemeat, i.e., the weight of the game-meat determines the quantities of the other ingredients.
  • The proportions are precisely the same as above as regards the veal, the pork, the bacon, and the seasoning. The procedure is also the same, while the appended remarks likewise apply.



  • Put into a sauté pan containing one oz. of very hot butter, one half lb. of fresh, fat bacon, cut into large cubes, brown quickly, and drain on a dish.
  • Quickly brown in the same butter one-half lb. of fillet of veal cut like the bacon and drain in the same way
  • Now rapidly brown one-half lb. of pale, calf's liver, also cut into large cubes.
  • Put the veal and the bacon back into the sauté pan with the liver, add the necessary quantity of salt and pepper, two oz. of mushroom parings, one oz. of truffle parings (raw if possible), chopped shallots, a sprig of thyme, and a fragment of bay.
  • Put the whole on the fire for two minutes, drain the bacon, the veal, and the liver, and put the gravy aside. Swill the sauté pan with one-quarter pint of Madeira.
  • Pound the bacon, veal, and liver quickly and finely, while adding consecutively six oz. of butter, the yolks of six eggs, the gravy that has been put aside, one-third pint of cold, reduced Espagnole, and the Madeira used for swilling.
  • Strain through a sieve, place in a tureen, and smooth with the wooden spoon.
  • N.B.--To make a gratin forcemeat with game, substitute for the veal that game-meat which may happen to be required.


  • Forcemeats prepared with the flesh of the pike are extremely delicate.
  • Subject to circumstances, they may be prepared according to any one of the three recipes above.
  • There is another excellent method of preparing this forcemeat as it is specially used for the preparation of pike forcement à la Lyonnaise.
  • Pound in a mortar one lb. of the meat of a pike, without the skin or bones; combine with this one-half lb. of stiff frangipan, season with salt and nutmeg, pass through a sieve, and put back into the mortar.
  • Vigorously work the forcemeat in order to make it cohere, and gradually add to it one-half lb. of melted beef-fat.
  • The whole half-pound, however, need not necessarily be beef-fat; beef-marrow or butter may form part of it in the proportion of half the weight of the beef-fat.
  • When the forcemeat is very fine and smooth, withdraw it from the mortar and place it in a bowl surrounded with ice until wanted.
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