Monday, August 11, 2014

Historic Food Fortnightly Challenge #6: Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

The Challenge: Seasonal Vegetables

The Recipe: Economical Vegetable Pottage accompanied by A Plain Salad (& Egg Dumplings, roughly based on the recipe from Godey's, reproduced in Civil War Recipes)

Date/Year & Region: English, 1852; American, 1860s

How Did You Make It: Started a broth with 4 oz. butter in 6 pints of water; added salt, pepper, winter savory*, parsley* and thyme*.  Allow that to boil while cutting vegetable: red potatoes*, gold potatoes*, golden beets*, tete noir cabbage*, carrots*, welsh onions*.  Added the shallots and (some type of) fresh bean whole.  Allowed the whole thing to simmer for a while, adding mint near the end.   For the salad, I layered green and red cabbage leaves, added some red lettuce, and decorated with slices of golden beet and mint leaves.  Dressing of apple cider vinegar & olive oil (ran out of butter) with salt and pepper.  Dumplings made of flour & salt, worked to a dough with egg* yoke and then boiled.

Time to Complete:  From digging the potatoes until the dishes were washed, about 5 hours.  I was making this in order to demonstrate the period kitchen in use, so it filled the time wonderfully.

Total Cost:  All ingredients to hand.  Asterisked items were from the Fort's period garden (or period chickens residing therein).

How Successful Was It: My best stew yet (probably because the instructions informed my seasoning choices, and I didn't put in too much pepper this time).  The visitors commented favorably on the smell, and the reenactors seemed to favor the dumplings.

How Accurate Was It: I confess I just hunted through the available recipes looking for guidelines by which I could justify improvising (having not exactly prepared for the task at hand).  That being said, the period instructions offer great latitude to use whatever vegetables are available--and for what it's worth, veggies and herbs used were all heirloom varieties dating no later than 1855.

Soup cooking on wood-burning stove.
Soup on the Stove

Colorful Victorian salad.
Egg dumplings, c.1860s recipe.
Egg Dumplings

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