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Cornish Pasties

Croccanti di Marroni - Chestnut Crunch

2 1/4 lb marroni
1/2 c sweet butter
3/4 c sugar
2 tblsp whipping cream
1/4 lb amaretti, crushed
2 ounce raisins
3 eggs, separated (save the whites for something else)
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
Bread crumbs for dredging
Grated lemon zest
Olive oil for frying
1 egg

Boil the chestnuts until tender, then peel them, and press the nut meats through a strainer (you can also use a food mill with a fine-holed disk; were you to use a blender the texture would be different).
Combine the mashed chestnuts, cinnamon, butter, a half cup of sugar, cream, amaretti, three yolks, the raisins and a pinch of salt together in a bowl; the mixture will be stiff. Spread it on your work surface to a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) and let it cool.
In the meantime, grate the zest of a lemon and mix it into the remaining sugar. Beat the remaining egg, and heat the oil for frying. Cut the chestnut mixture into inch-by-inch diamonds, roll them in the bread crumbs, dredge them in the egg, roll them again the bread crumbs, and fry them until golden brown. Drain the pastries on absorbent paper and dust them with the sugar and lemon zest mixture.

Something rather different, and not baked -- this recipe was published by Giovanni Vialardi in 1854, and derives from the mountains of Cuneo and the Val di Susa in Piemonte, where chestnuts were a staple winter food. The marrone (marron, for the French) is larger, much more highly valued than the regular chestnut.

Pork and Pea Soup

A Hearty Winter Warmer

This pea soup recipe is adapted from one imported from London, England and represents a very common and economical form of cookery popular with the working classes on both sides of the Atlantic. The recipe itself was published in 1861 by Charles Elmé Francatelli in his book A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes, a small volume devoted to simple, inexpensive, and nutritional recipe ideas.

Pea soup is excellent for fighting off the effects of the cold weather: its a real stick to your ribs meal when served with thick slices of buttered bread. I have elected to use Fresh Pork in my recipe; but it was also made with either Salt Pork (omitting any extra salt from the recipe), Mutton, or beef.

1 1/2 lbs of pork scraps, cubed
1 lb of green spilt peas
8 c water
1/2 head of celery, diced
2 lg carrots, diced
2 lg onions, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of pepper (fresh ground is best)

Place the water in a suitable stock pot or kettle and bring it to a simmer. Place all of the ingredients (the peas do not need to be soaked overnight) in the pot and bring once again to just under a boiling. Cover the pot and simmer slowly for 2 hours, stirring from time to time to stop the peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. You may want to add a little more water if the soup gets to thick.

Serve piping hot, garnished with Sippets*, and slices of buttered bread. A little finely chopped fresh mint (or dried) sprinkled over the soup is a nice addition if you like it and is authentic to the period.

* Sippets

Sippets are made by cutting toasted, or fried bread (day old is preferred), into small cubes so they can be used to garnish an entree or soup.

Bread was usually toasted before the open fire, or the open fire door of a cookstove by using a long handled toasting fork. Fried bread can be made as follows in a cast iron or non-stick frying pan.

Place a small amount of bacon drippings or vegetable oil into the pan and bring to medium heat. Fry the bread on each side until a crisp golden brown. Too much oil or fat will result in soggy bread not fit for man or beast. When done right the bread will have a thin light crust and be nice and soft on the inside.

Recipe From: Robert's Receipts Civil War Home Cooking 1861 - 1865 by Robert S. Hill, you can own your own cookbook from him by visiting Redcoat Publishing

Beef Jerky or Venison

Jerky is practically indestructible, lasts almost forever and can be used as either a quick main meal or a basis for soups and stews. The word jerky comes from the method in which the meat is removed from the bones. It was jerked away quickly so as to eliminate many of the sinews (tendons). Three pounds of fresh meat equals about 1 lb. jerky.

Method 1: (Indian style) Hang strips of meat on racks made of willows to dry in the sun or sometimes in the smoke of the campfire for a smoked flavor.

Method 2: (pioneer) Rub strips of meat with dry salt and put in a stone crock to "season" for 24 hrs. (use no water) Then remove the strips and hang in sun or smokehouse to dry until very hard.

Method 3: Mix together 3 lbs. salt, 5 Tbsp. black pepper and 4 Tbsp. Allspice. Skin one thigh of the animal, muscle by muscle removing all the membranes so that only the raw and moist flesh remains. Best size meat is pieces about 1 foot long 6" wide and 2 or 3 inches thick. Rub the salt spice mixture into the meat. Be sure to cover every bit of the meat's surface. Hang each piece by the small end to dry. If the sun is to hot, hang it in the shade. Never let the meat get wet or even damp, take it inside if it rains. Cover the meat with canvas or cloth to protect it from the dew. This will be at it's best at a month old.

Fish may be kept in much the same way.

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