Further thoughts on the Nottingham jar…

I came across a description of a Nottingham jar; it was likened to a slow cooker which we would have plugged in all day, slowly cooking a meal ready for later, or a slow setting on an oven where things could be left in over night, “it was a clay pot with a lid and you put into it your meat (whole rabbit, pheasant or whatever) and kept turning it in front of an open fire”. If only I had an open fire! In the meantime, I’ll just stir the streak and kidney stew which has been gently cooking over several hours in our slow oven, reading to be encased in pastry.

For some reason I keep thinking it is a Jonathan jar… I wonder if there is such a thing? I must investigate!

Eliza Acton in her Modern Cookery, published a hundred and seventy years ago, has this recipe for a baked Irish Stew, cooked in a Nottingham jar:

Fill a brown, upright Nottingham jar with alternate layers of mutton (or beef), sliced potatoes, and mild onions; and put in water and seasoning as above (for Irish stew in a pan she had ½ ounce pepper and 1 ounce salt); cover the top closely with whole potatoes (pared), and send the stew to a moderate oven. The potatoes on the top should be well cooked and browned before the stew is served. We have not considered it necessary to try this recipe, which was given to us by some friends who keep an excellent table, and who recommend it much. It is, of course, suited to a quite plain family dinner. The onions can be omitted when the flavour is not liked.

It is interesting that she quite obviously tries or cooks recipes she is not familiar with – except those she can trust from friends.

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