The basic method of preparation involves slow cooking over a low heat. The main ingredients are many; ragouts may be prepared with or without meat, a wide variety of vegetables may be incorporated, and they may be more or less heavily spiced and seasoned.
A Ragoo for made Dishes
TAKE claret, gravy, sweet-herbs, and savoury spice, toss up in it lamb-stones (i.e. lamb’s testicles), cock's-combs, boiled, blanched, and sliced, with sliced sweet-meats, oysters, mushrooms, truffles, and murrels; thicken these with brown butter; use it when called for.
To make a Ragoo of Pigs-Ears
TAKE a quantity of pigs-ears, and boil them in one half wine and the other water; cut them in small pieces, then brown a little butter, and put them in, and a pretty deal of gravy, two anchovies, an eschalot or two, a little mustard, and some slices of lemon, some salt and nutmeg: stew all these together, and shake it up thick. Garnish the dish with barberries.
The 1731 patriotic ballad "The Roast Beef of Old England" by the British writer Henry Fielding comically attributes Britain's traditional military prowess to the eating of roast beef, suggesting that this has been lost since the introduction of ragout from "all-vapouring France".
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- Smith, Eliza (1758). The Compleat Housewife: or, Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion… (16th ed.). London: C Hitch, etc.
- Daly, Gavin (2013). The British Soldier in the Peninsular War: Encounters with Spain and Portugal, 1808–1814. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-137-32382-8.