President’s Day, which we traditionally observe on the third Monday of February, was actually first established in 1885 to honor George Washington’s birthday. Born on February 22, 1732, Washington is remembered as the first US president, one of the drafters of the Constitution…and quite a food lover! It’s a wonder that such a remarkable, courageous and (and busy!) man found time to breathe, let alone eat! But eat he certainly did, and some very interesting meals too. This President’s Day, honor the legacy of George Washington by re-creating some of his favorite recipes. They may just become some of your favorites as well!
Steak and Kidney Pie
• Favorite pastry or Perfect Pastry
• 1 ½ to 2 pounds of Five Star Certified Angus beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
• 1/2 pound (about) beef kidney, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you don’t have to worry about cleaning. They now come cleaned)
• 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter or drippings (drippings are traditional, butter tastes better, olive oil is better for you and won’t scorch as easily)
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1/4 cup all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs – (Italian Seasoning)
• 1/2 teaspoon dry powdered mustard, or to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Salt and fresh, coarse ground black pepper to taste
• 1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced
• 1/4 cup inexpensive cream Sherry
• 2 to 2 ½ cups of beef bouillon, stock or broth – (Homemade or commercial)
• 1/4 cup chopped parsley
• Egg wash – (1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of cold water)
1. Make your pastry and refrigerate to chill while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Pre heat the oven to 500° or 550°. Prepare the beef and kidneys and set aside.
2. Heat the oil, butter or drippings, or combination thereof, in a heavy skillet and gently sauté the onion until it is pinkish and translucent but not yet beginning to brown. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Blend the flour, herbs, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper together in a small paper or plastic bag. Add the kidneys, a handful at a time to coat evenly with the flour mixture. Add, the seasoned kidneys, a few at a time to the skillet, and over a medium heat, brown on all sides. Do not overcook! They should still be quite pink in the middle. Remove from the pan and set aside. Now continue the process with the beef. You may need to add a bit more oil, drippings or butter. You may brown the beef a bit longer than you did the kidneys. When finished, place the onions, kidneys, beef and mushrooms in a baking dish that may be served from.
4. With the fire on medium, use a wooden spoon and scrape up the browned bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan. Add about a tablespoon of the seasoned flour left in the bag and continue stirring and scraping until the flour is beginning to brown. Pour in the Sherry and broth and continue to cook, whisking all the while, until the gravy begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the parsley, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil – (drippings would have been traditional)
• 1 leek, thinly sliced and well washed, including about 4 inches of the green part
• 1 stalk of celery, diced
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 2 tomatoes, diced
• 1 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice
• 1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs – (Italian Seasoning) – or favorite fresh herbs
• About 20 fresh mussels, scrubbed and with the beards cut off
• About 20 littleneck clams, scrubbed
• About 20 Five Star large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• About a pound of firm fleshed white fish, cut into cubes
• 1 pound of Five Star scallops
1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over a medium high heat. Add the leek, celery, onion and pepper and gently sauté until the vegetables are hot through, soft and only just beginning to brown. Add the wine and stir until all are well coated. Add the tomatoes, stock or clam juice and herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about thirty minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare all the seafood and fish. Discard any mussels and clams that do not close when tapped. Place them in a heavy skillet or sauce pan over a high heat and shaking the pan, cook until the shells open. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the liquid remaining in the pan through a coffee filter, (no, of course they didn’t have coffee filters in colonial times – they had to do it through cloth) and add it to the muddle.
• 1 cup Mayonnaise (or use commercial)
• 2 cloves of very finely minced
• 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh tarragon
• Toasted fresh homemade bread or French bread
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or chervil
• Salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste
3. Blend the minced garlic and tarragon with the mayonnaise and set aside. Add the shrimp, scallops and fish to the muddle, bring to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat and stir in the parsley or chervil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and leave for about five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Ladle into bowls, and arrange the mussels and clams on top of each serving. Spread the seasoned mayonnaise on the toast and serve with the muddle.
*Serve one of Five Star’s gourmet ready-to-bake Cherry Pies or try this recipe:
Makes 1, 8-9 inch pie
• Favorite pastry or Perfect Pastry
• 5 cups of pitted fresh cherries
• 1 ½ cups sugar, or to taste
• 3 tablespoons instant tapioca or 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
• 2 tablespoons butter
1. Make your pastry and chill. Mix the cherries with the remaining ingredients and set aside for about thirty minutes. Pre heat oven to 500° to 550°.
2. When ready to assemble, roll our a piece of pastry to be about 1/4-inch thick and use it to line an eight or nine inch pie plate. Leave about 1/2-inch of pastry hanging over the edge of the pie plate.
3. Fill the pie plate with the cherry mixture and set aside. Roll out another piece of pastry to use for the top crust. Traditionally a cherry and berry pies has a lattice top, however you may make a solid top if you wish.
How do you celebrate President’s Day?
Have you ever tried making any historic recipes?
Tell us about them!