- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 19, 2000

Want to have a Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims and Indians did in 1621? Try out some of these recipes, courtesy of Plimoth Plantation museum in Plymouth, Mass.

Sobaheg

Sobaheg is an Indian dish containing meat (such as venison, bear, raccoon, moose or otter) mixed with beans, nuts and squash.

1/2 pound dried beans (white, red,brown or kidney)

1 pound diced venison

3 quarts cold water

1/2 pound green beans

1/2 pound winter squash, trimmed and sliced

1/2 pound coarse grits

1/2 cup walnuts

Combine dried beans, venison and water in a large pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat, turn down to a very low simmer and cook for about 2 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally to be certain that the bottom is not sticking.

When beans are tender, but not mushy, break up meat, removing skin and bone.

Add green beans, squash and grits and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add walnuts and stir until blended.

Nasaump

Nasaump was an Indian dish that could be made sweet (with fruit) or savory (with clam broth).

1 quart water

1 1/2 cups coarse corn grits or hominy

1 cup clam broth and green onions or 1 cup fresh strawberries or blueberries

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Gradually add the hominy, stirring until it comes back to a boil. Turn heat to low and allow to cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to stand 30 to 60 minutes. Before serving, reheat over medium heat and add either clam broth and onions or fruit.

Boiled wild duck

The step of parboiling the bird before roasting creates a lean and tender roast duck. The sauce is flavored in a manner typical of 17th-century English taste: The sweetness of cooked onions, currants and a little sugar is balanced with the sharpness of wine and barberries. Today's cooks can substitute halved cranberries for the barberries.

TO PARBOIL:

1 4- to-5-pound duck

2 teaspoons of salt

6 peppercorns

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

Handful or parsley leaves and stalks

TO ROAST DUCK:

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 medium onions, halved vertcally and thinly sliced

TO MAKE SAUCE:

2 cups red wine

1/3 cup parsley

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup dried currants or halved raisins

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 cup cranberries, halved

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut in eight cubes

Rinse duck inside and out and rinse any giblets included. Place duck and giblets (except liver) in a large pot along with two teaspoons of salt, six peppercorns, the quartered onion and handful of parsley. Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

When the broth begins to simmer, skim off the froth, cover and turn the heat down to hold the duck at a very low simmer for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Carefully remove the duck from the broth and season it inside and out with salt and pepper. Arrange the sliced onions in a roasting pan and place the duck on top of them.

Roast the duck for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm, loosely covered with aluminum foil, allowing it to rest 10 to 20 minutes.

While the duck is resting, make the sauce. Into a saucepan put one cup of the broth in which the duck simmered, the onions roasted under the duck, the wine, minced parsley, ginger, currants, and mace. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced by two-thirds and of a syrupy consistency.

When the duck has rested for at least 10 minutes, carve it into serving pieces. Place the meat on a heated serving platter in a warm place. Add any drippings that have accrued during carving to the boiling wine-and-onion mixture.

When the wine sauce has reduced sufficiently, stir in the cranberries and sugar. Simmer another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter, one or two cubes at a time, until the sauce is emulsified.

Stewed pompion

This dish of stewed squash or pumpkins was called "The Ancient New England Standing Dish" in a 1672 writing. The word "ancient" implies that the first New England cooks relied on big kettles of stewed pumpkin to fill up their families during the cold winter months. The phrase "standing dish" implies its presence daily, if not at every meal.

4 cups of cooked squash, pared, seeded, steamed or baked and roughly mashed

3 tablespoons butter

2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger (or nutmeg, cloves or pepper) to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir all the ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve hot.

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