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CARBONADE - Defined

CARBONADE—A French term applied to denote a stew composed of cold meats, generally seasoned with onions and garlic, such as carbonade of beef, mutton, etc.

If cookery is ever to be a science it must be exact in its nomenclature, and cooks must not be allowed to confuse common-sense with their ignorant use of terms.

The carbonade has degenerated in France into a stew, having meant originally a grill; and attempts are made to introduce the word into England as corrupted by the French cooks.

So long as Shakespeare and the Elizabethan dramatists are prized in England this new style will not be tolerated. The carbonade was “a rasher on the coals”; and the rasher was first of all slashed or scored, to increase the broiling surface and to permit the penetration of pepper and salt.

It was in fact a devil. “He scotcht him and notcht him like a carbonado,” we read in Shakespeare; and in Beaumont and Fletcher—
Has he bespoken? what, will he have a brace,
Or but one partridge, or a short-legged hen Daintily carbonadoed !

What has this to do with stewing? In England, a carbonade will always mean something which is first scored and then grilled. Only nowadays it is not usual—except for devilling—to score meat which is to be grilled, since to do so would let out the juices too freely and dry it.

For further remarks turn to the Shoulder of Mutton, which is the principal piece of meat submitted to the carbonade; and to do justice to the French cooks, let us explain how it is that the carbonade of mutton has with them come to be a stew. It was because it was thought good to parboil the shoulder before sending it to the grill.

The only carbonade of beef which is much in favor is better known as broiled or grilled bones.

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Vintage Culinary Terms - "C"