To Stew a Rump of Beef

Most of us are used to stuffing a turkey or chicken, but stuffing a red meat is Old World. This version is stewed, as opposed to baked or roasted. Red wine and garlic give it depth.

18th Century

Take out as much of the bone as can be done that it will lie flat in a dish, stuff it with forcemeat made as before directed, lay it in a pot with two quarts of water, a pint of red wine, some carrots and turnips cut into small pieces and strewn over it, a head of celery cut up, a few cloves of garlic, some pounded cloves, pepper and salt, stew it gently until sufficiently done, skim the fat off, thicken the gravy, and serve it up; garnish with little bits of puff paste nicely baked and scraped horseradish.

Randolph, Mary, “The Virginia Housewife”

21st Century

  • 5 lb. Rump of Beef
  • 2 quarts of water (or enough to cover meat)
  • 1 pt. Red Wine (Burgundy is fine)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 carrots (small)
  • 1 turnip (medium)
  • 1 stalk of celery (medium to large)
  • Butter and Flour for thickening
  • Horseradish

For the Forecemeat

  • 1 lb. Bread Crumb
  • 4 Slices of Bacon
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 oz. Beef Suet (butter can substitute)
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Egg Yolks

Prepare the Forcemeat

  1. In a bowl mix the bread crumbs, then add salt and pepper. Chop the onion finely and add to the crumbs.
  2. Cut the bacon pieces and the suet very fine and add into the mixture.
  3. Whip up the egg yolks and add them in, blending with your hands thoroughly until it packs together like a thick stuffing. If it’s too dry and doesn’t come together, add a whole whipped egg to the mixture.

Prepare the Beef

  1. Take the beef, and starting at one end with a knife, about an inch from the bottom, slowly cut (slice) from one end almost to the other end. Pulling the top over gently, cut as you go to “unroll” the beef, making it a long flat piece.
  2. Take your forcemeat and place it on the beef. Flatten it out with your hand to cover the exposed top of this long strip of meat.
  3. Gently roll the beef back up, reversing your cutting procedure. You should have a piece of meat that sort of looks like a pinwheel. Tie this altogether with string to hold it tight.
  4. Place beef in your stewing pot. Cover it over with the water and wine and add in your cut up garlic, carrots, turnip and celery. Stew this gently until sufficiently done, or when the meat has reached an internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees when taken with a meat thermometer (well done). Skim the fat that rises to the top of the water.
  5. To garnish, if you choose, roll out a puff pastry sheet (store bought), cut what shapes you please, and bake them on a cookie sheet. Now make sure your beef is done, plate it and surround it with the vegetables. If you choose, place scraped horseradish on the top and your baked puff pastry shapes over or around. You are ready to serve.

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13 Responses to “To Stew a Rump of Beef”

  1. November 5th, 2012

    Glenn Thompson says:

    Love your recipes. Only thing is the photographs are sometimes (like the rump roast) a little less an appealing. Perhaps your professional photographers could get some help from the food magazines on coloration and appeal.

  2. November 6th, 2012

    mitch says:

    I too love the recipes and have tried a few, i don’t find the photos un-appealing, i think they try to present the food the way it would have been served, and i would think most of the food would not make it into todays food magazines 😉

  3. January 2nd, 2013

    Helen FitzGerald says:

    What cut would you use for this recipe that’s best for stewing and also for stuffing – e.g. a brisket, a top round, bottom, round, chuck?

    Thank you, and happy 2013 new year,

    • January 3rd, 2013

      Historic Foodways says:

      You should use the top round section of the beef as it is the closest to the rump that you can find in most grocery stores. Thanks for your query.
      Dennis Cotner

  4. January 10th, 2013

    Helen Robison FitzGerald says:

    I ended up using an Eye of Round cut as suggested in the video. The kitchen stills smells great much to the angst of my black labrador. In reviewing Mrs. Randolph’s forcemeat recipe, I added nutmeg, savory, thyme, and majorem to the stuffing. I also added the cloves to the cooking liquid and substituted beef stock for the water. I don’t think I did a great job on the rolling but the dish was delicious – especially the vegetables (I added many more carrots and also fingerling potatoes), the broth and the stuffing. The meat was a bit dry and that was either my cooking or the cut of meat. I heated the liquid to simmering on the stove and then transferred it to a 350 F oven. The temperature got to 160 in an hour; I left it in 1.5 hours. Either that was too long or too short for the meat but it’s a great dish. Many thanks. Helen

  5. January 10th, 2013

    Helen Robison FitzGerald says:

    At the risk of spamming, I thought I’d share my rolling effort, in hope of comment. Perhaps the eye of round was not ideal – a pork loin is so much easier in being more uniform. Also, I thought to leave the bread in cubes to give the stuffing more texture. Further, my bread was VERY dry. The eggs including the whites and even some beef stock still made a stiff mixture that was hard to flatten out and to roll up. It did taste great! Alas, I consulted Hannah and Mary and received no enlightened words on this point.

    For 18th century eating with the eyes, it’s a beautiful dish to present, especially when sliced.

    Best always, Helen

  6. April 5th, 2013

    Greetings! I am planning to try the To Stew a Rump of Beef receipt next, but I wanted to comment on the Beefsteak with Ale Sauce. Since I didn’t see it in the list, I’m commenting here.(For enquiring minds, it’s on the CW Multimedia Foodways website.) This dish is an absolute delight and oh-so-easy to make. Even my picky children loved it! My 21st century persona does not like to cook, but my true 18th century self just loves it! Thank you so much for being my “enabler” as I overindulge in 18th c everything! Sorry no photo — it smelled so good while cooking, we could not even spare a Photo Op Moment before diving in. Maybe next time — and there WILL be a next time! This will be a wonderful dish to add to my re-enacting authentic food repertoire!

    To all at CW Foodways, an abundance of gratitude!

  7. May 14th, 2013

    kat says:

    Here is my home test run. Hopefully I will be attempting this at our next encampment.

  8. September 21st, 2013

    Stephen says:

    So, how long does this take to cook. Notice on several recipes that cooking times aren’t given. Having even an estimate would help.

    • October 9th, 2013

      Historic Foodways says:

      Good eye!

      Most recipes from the 18th century did not include cooking times. In fact, until the 20th century, most cooks did not rely of time to dictate how long they would cook an item. Instead, they would rely of experience and other senses (sight, smell, touch) to check for doneness.

      For a modern example, think of how many ways restaurants offer steak. While I prefer my steak well done, you may prefer the medium rare. So it is up to the individual cook to determine.

      I would recommend at least an hour to an hour and a half for cooking time!

      Melissa Blank

  9. January 10th, 2015

    Helen FitzGerald says:

    A thought on the appearance: Chef Walter Staib, in his “A Taste of History” TV series, suggests that the meat (whether a boiled boulli or something such as this) would have been glazed at the last minute with a Veal Glace’ (reduced and flavored meat stock) to give it a shiny, glossy appearance.

    • January 13th, 2015

      Historic Foodways says:

      Dear Helen,
      Thanks for the tip, I have actually had Chef Staib’s veal demi glaze and it is delicious. However, I think that suggestion reflects Chef’s continental European training perhaps more than the cook books of 18th century England. The English used what they called cullis as the start for many of their sauces and glazes. This is made cooking meat and vegetables in water and then removing them and replacing it with more meat and vegetables and cooking it again. At the end of the process they take out the meat and vegetables and add some butter rolled in flour to thicken it slightly. It is not as thick as a demi glaze but has a pretty rich flavor. They then took a couple ladles full of this and added other ingredients to it to make different sauces. The cookbooks of the time usually tell you serving tips like that in the recipe, I do not recall seeing that glazing suggestion in period sources but there may be examples that I missed.


  10. January 6th, 2016

    Dave says:

    Made this for dinner the other day and it was AMAZING, we’d probably modify the forcemeat a bit but hey, that’s what cooking is all about–I think mushrooms would be a great addition.

    tonight, my amazing bride took the leftovers and made them into a FANTASTIC variation on shepherds pie. Life at my house has been VERY good!

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