Time: 1/2 to 3/4 hour

Allow 1 lb. of beef to make 1 pint of good beef tea

  1. 1 lb. of solid beef
  2. 1 oz. of butter
  3. 1 clove
  4. 2 button onions or 1/2 a large one
  5. 1 saltspoonful of salt
  6. 1 quart of water
  • Cut the beef into very small dice
  • Put it into a stewpan with the butter, clove, onion, and salt
  • Stir the meat round over the fire for a few minutes, until it produces a thin gravy
  • Add the water, and let it simmer gently from 1/2 to 3/4 hour, skimming off every particle of fat
  • When done, strain it through a sieve, and put it by in a cool place until required

  • The same, if wanted quite plain, is done by merely omitting the vegetables, salt, and clove; the butter cannot be objectionable, as it is taken out in skimming.

    Note: The meat loft from beef tea may be boiled a little longer, and pounded, with spices, &c., for potting. It makes a very nice breakfast dish.
    DR. CHRISTISON says that "every one will be struck with the readiness with which certain classes of patients will often take diluted meat juice, or beef tea repeatedly, when they refuse all other kinds of food." This is particularly remarkable in case of gastric fever, in which, he says, little or nothing else besides beef tea, or diluted meat juice, has been taken for weeks, or even months; and yet a pint of beef tea contains scarcely 1/4 oz. of anything but water. The result is so striking, that he asks, "What is its mode of action? Not simple nutriment; 1/4 oz. of the most nutritive material cannot nearly replace the daily wear and tear of the tissue in any circumstances." Possibly, he says, it belongs to a new denomination of remedies.

    Source: The Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton (1859)

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