Monday, October 31, 2016

OLD VIRGINIA BRUNSWICK STEW

Brunswick Stew was served at all of Virginia's tobacco-curing, sheep shearing, and other gatherings. The story goes that a hunting party in Brunswick County, well provisioned with tomatoes, onions, butter beans, okra, bacon, salt, and corn, left one man behind to have the dinner ready at the end of the day. He could only find a squirrel within range of the camp. So he shot it, cleaned it, and threw it into the pot with the vegetables. When it was served, all of the hunters agreed that squirrel was the finest and tenderest of all wild meats. Chicken is now substituted . . . and that a good thing! 
In 1775 my 5th great grandfather, Capt. David Chadwell appeared at the Colonial Capitol in the City of Williamsburg to testify against another man who stole his horse. I like to think that maybe that evening he dined at the one of the taverns and had Brunswick Stew. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
If you do not have or like okra, which also is a thickener, just spoon out 3 tablespoons of the melted butter-bacon grease mixture into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a paste. Use this to thicken the stew before you add the boneless chicken pieces.


Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 lbs) cut into pieces and most of the skin removed
1 quart chicken stock or broth
3 cups water

Stew
6 slices bacon, diced (preferably Virginia hickory smoked)
4 T unsalted butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 (14.5-oz) cans stewed tomatoes
2 cups frozen lima beans
2 cups frozen corn
3 large yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cups chopped okra 
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 sprig thyme or 1 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 t Old Bay seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce, optional

In a large cast-iron stew pot or Dutch oven, add the chicken pieces, (including the back) chicken stock, and water.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered for 1 ½ hours.

Remove chicken with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to cool. 
Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher or measuring cup. You should have about 4 cups of broth.
Skim some of the fat from the top of the broth and discard.

In the same cast-iron stew pot or Dutch oven, fry the diced bacon until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
Add butter to the pot with the bacon fat and let melt.

Add the chopped onions to the butter mixture and sauté for 10 minutes.
Pour the strained chicken broth into the pot with the sautéed onions.

Add the stewed tomatoes, lima beans, corn, potatoes, okra, Worcestershire, thyme sprig, bay leaves, and Old Bay into the pot.
Simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile remove the skin from the chicken and pull the chicken off the bones into bite size pieces and add to the pot. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Simmer another 5 minutes, add the bacon bits and serve with cornbread muffins and hot sauce, if desired.

Serves 6




SUNDAY IN RYAN, LOUDOUN CO, VIRGINIA


This was my favorite pink dress. I wore it 3 times as a flower girl in weddings.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

IZETTA'S BLACK WALNUT POUND CAKE

My mother told me there was a black walnut tree growing in the front yard of her childhood home in Waterford, Virginia. She made the most delicious black walnut pound cake and probably got the recipe from her mother, Annie Louise Middleton Markham.
Back in the early 1980s, my husband and I took a couple of friends to visit Waterford, Virginia. We walked up the hill to my mom's home and it was in shambles. Apparently someone bought the property, with over 70 acres of land, and was ready to renovate and restore the house. I walked through the house and opened every door on the second floor. She told me every room had a fireplace—and they sure did.
There was an old black walnut tree in the front yard and I picked up an empty shell lying on the ground and kept it. 
My husband fashioned it into an owl, and I still have that little black walnut 'owl'.
Black walnuts are difficult to find in the Pacific Northwest. I ordered them online and for extra flavor, I also ordered black walnut extract.



Butter a 4 by 8-inch loaf pan.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 T honey
1 t black walnut extract
2 cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour
½ t baking powder, preferably non-aluminum
1 t sea salt
1 ½ cups chopped black walnuts

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle, gently cream butter and sugar.
In a 2-cup measuring pitcher, add eggs, honey, and black walnut extract.
Whisk with a fork and then gradually pour into mixer while mixing on slow speed.

Sift flour with baking powder into a bowl then add the salt and slowly add to mixer.

Mix until well incorporated, scraping down the bowl once or twice in between.
With a rubber spatula, transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  
Using a table knife, run it around the sides of the pan to loosen and then turn out onto a plate.  

Let cool another hour or so before serving.


Friday, October 28, 2016

CAJUN-STYLE ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE & CHICKEN GUMBO

Cajun gumbo is a hearty stew created from the melting-pot of Louisiana cooking. The first known recipes were in the early 1800s. In the spring the gumbo would include crawfish, catfish, and other freshwater fish. Late summer was the time to make it with chicken, duck, goose, or other fowl raised at home. In the autumn and winter it was common to use duck, squirrel, rabbit, and other wild game brought home by the hunter. 



¼ cup avocado oil or peanut oil
6 to 7 oz smoked andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Cajun Seasoning (recipe follows)
1 t smoked paprika
½ t cayenne pepper (optional, if you want a little more heat)
2 t dried thyme
1 T Worcestershire sauce
3 cups chicken stock
6 to 8 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of any fat and cut into 3 to 4 pieces
1 bottle Abita beer or other amber beer
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped okra
1 T filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree)

1 bunch chopped scallions, for garnish 
Louisiana or Crystal hot sauce, for the table

In a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven, fitted with a lid, add the oil and cook the sausage until light brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

To make the roux, whisk the flour into the oil in the pot.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. 
Let the roux cook until it’s the color of peanut butter.
Lower heat to medium-low and let roux cook until it’s the color of an old copper penny, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

Stir in the “holy trinity” of onion, bell pepper, and celery.
Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the Cajun Seasoning, paprika, cayenne, thyme, Worcestershire, chicken stock, cut up chicken thighs, beer, bay leaves, and the browned sausage.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Partially cover with a lid and simmer 20 minutes.
Add okra and simmer another 5 minutes.
Turn off heat and stir in the filé powder and let sit for 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with scallions and serve with cooked white rice and French bread or corn bread.

Serves 4

Cajun Seasoning
3 T paprika
2 T sea salt
2 T garlic powder
2 T cayenne pepper
2 T onion powder
2 T dried thyme
2 T ground black pepper
1 T ground white pepper

Pour above ingredients in a jar fitted with a lid. Shake well and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.

CREOLE SHRIMP & ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE GUMBO

To make a Creole or Cajun gumbo, you first have to make a roux. I like to use my well seasoned cast-iron stew pot to make gumbo. I also like to use a little less oil to flour ratio than most gumbos call for. Let your roux come to the color of an old penny before adding the "trinity".
I also added my recipe for Creole Seasoning. Cajun seasoning does not contain dried oregano and basil. Traditionally Cajun food does not contain tomatoes. This recipe is for the more "cityfied" Creole Gumbo with tomatoes.



1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ cup peanut oil or grape seed oil
6 to 7 oz smoked andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Creole Seasoning (recipe follows)
1 t smoked paprika
½ t cayenne pepper (optional, if you want a little more heat)
2 t dried thyme
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes
1 qt seafood stock or 3 bottles clam broth
1 bottle Abita beer or other amber beer
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped okra, fresh or frozen
1 T filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree)

1 bunch chopped scallions, for garnish 
Louisiana or Crystal hot sauce, for the table

Place shrimp in a bowl and refrigerate.

In a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven, fitted with a lid, add the oil and cook the sausage until light brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

To make the roux, whisk the flour into the oil in the pot.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. 
Let the roux cook until it’s the color of peanut butter.
Lower heat to medium-low and let roux cook until it’s the color of an old copper penny, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

Stir in the “holy trinity” of onion, bell pepper, and celery.
Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the Creole Seasoning, paprika, cayenne, thyme, Worcestershire, tomatoes, seafood stock or clam broth, bay leaves, and the browned sausage.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Partially cover with a lid and simmer 20 minutes.
Add okra and simmer another 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Turn off heat and stir in the filé powder, cover with a lid, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with scallions and serve with cooked white rice and French bread.

Serves 4

Creole Seasoning
3 T paprika
2 T sea salt
2 T garlic powder
2 T cayenne pepper
2 T onion powder
2 T dried thyme
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried basil
2 T ground black pepper
1 T ground white pepper

Pour above ingredients in a jar fitted with a lid. Shake well and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.