Pork Sausage and apples is a period concoction; pies are too, and putting anything in a pie goes back to the Middle Ages. I didn’t have any blackbirds to bake in a pie for the last muster but this seemed to satisfy.

Several members asked me for the recipe and as I didn’t have one, you’ll have to be indulgent as to quantities of ingredients. I’ll start with the crust . For meat pies, I like a lard crust. While flaky, they hold up better to the moisture and are substantial .

Pie crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  23 cup lard (or Crisco if you’d rather)
  • 5 -7 tablespoons cold water. I actually use vodka which I store in the freezer. it’s colder than water and the alcohol evaporates when baked.


  1. Put flour into a mixing bowl with the lard or shortning
  2. Using a pastry cutter or your floured fingers, cut the lard into the flour until it’s very crumbly.
  3. add salt and water.
  4. Mix until dough is formed.
  5. Roll out on flat surface.

I made the crust at home , rolled it out and on waxed paper and brought it with me. Since I made 2 pies, I did two batches which made 4 – 9 inch crusts. I put 2 of them  in pie pans and set aside while I made the filling.


  • 2 lbs homemade lean pork sausage (or any kind you want)
  • 2 medium sized sweet onions, chopped fine
  • 1 medium red pepper, 1 small  green pepper, chopped fine
  • 6 medium apples (I used Macintosh but half whatever apple you have AND  half Granny Smith would be great.), peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb divided, grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 tablespoon + of flour (maybe more)
  • 1 egg scrambled
  • 1/4 organic apple vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + Stevia (If it weren’t for my diabetic friends, I’d use dark brown sugar)


  1. In a skillet, Crumble the sausage and brown it. Remove after it’s done and set aside.
  2. Deglaze with a little bit of vinegar. Then melt butter, add the onions and peppers and fry until semi soft and the onions are golden. Ad the apples and cook down a little.
  3. Add the sausage back to the pan and mix with the remaining vinegar and sugar or stevia. cook a little to combine.
  4. At this point, you’re done and then you fill the crusts high. the crusts should be in pie pans ready to be filled.
  5. Brush the egg on the sides and bottom of each crust.
  6. mix a bit of flour in the filling to bind the liquid when baking.
  7. Layer the cheese on top and fill each pie.
apples and sausage

Egg washed pie crust and filling



Add the cheese

Put the crust lids on, pinch the sides to close and spread remaining egg wash on tops. Cut vents in to let the steam out.

As to baking. , I put each one in a dutch oven and used what is described as a quick fire, coals on top and on bottom. If I was making this in my oven, I’d start at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes and them reduce to 375 for about 40 minutes or so.

pie baking

Dutch ovens are stacked with coals between. I turned them every 15 minutes.

I made a salad. The dressing was a simple dressing of 3 parts good olive oil (I used infused oil with lemon), a bit of Stevia or sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 part apple cider vinegar. Can’t get anything this good in a restaurant!!!



Not your Mamma’s Cream of Mushroom soup!

This weekend, I’m going to participate in a cooking demo at the Amis House in Rogersville, TN. http://www.amismill.com/

Constructed by Thomas Amis in 1780, the house and mill were at the edge of civilization, north west of the Watauga . Jake and Wendy Jacobs (who is a descendent of Thomas Amis) bought and restored the property and it’s now a fabulous eatery. There is a church nearby at the Ebb and Flowing Springs that is almost as old as the site and it’s being rededicated this weekend. As part of the festivities, Doug and Donna Ledbetter, Artie and Diane O’Neill and myself were asked to do a cooking demo to add a little 18th century flavor. That was a poor pun. Anyway, I thought and thought about what I could make and as it’s mushroom time in the mountains, I thought a variation of the Shirley Plantation Mushroom soup would be the very thing!

The original recipe is very simple:

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups cream
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Rinse, trim and chop mushrooms.

While mushrooms are being prepared, place butter in pan on trivet on the hearth, near to but not in the fire. Allow butter to melt slowly.

Stir in mushrooms. Cover pan and shovel a few coals under the trivet. Allow mushrooms to simmer slowly, stirring occasionally until done, about 15 minutes.

Stir in flour and continue cooking mushroom mixture. Stir occasionally until liquid is absorbed and flour is cooked.

Combine cream and milk in a separate pan and heat over flames until scalded (almost boiling).

When mushroom mixture is ready, slowly add hot liquid, salt and cayenne, stirring occasionally.

Continue to let soup cook a few minutes, stirring until slightly thickened. Correct seasoning and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

— Shirley Plantation, via The Old Stone House

I played with this recipe tonight and sweetened the deal and oh my, it was unreal!

For one thing, I used button mushrooms and Shitake and upped the quantity to 2 pounds. I also added green onions to the mushrooms including the tops and besides a pinch of cayenne, I added pepper, fresh thyme, majoram and a spring of fresh rosemary. For a garnish tomorrow, I have some fresh watercress and sherry and i think it will be wonderful. Maybe it’s not the orginial soup but dolled up, it’s really excellent!

20140121-chicken-mull-shutterstock-2.jpgWhen I went to Fort Yargo in Georgia last year, I was fed like I hadn’t been fed before and this year was no exception. As the militia boys up here said, those folks in Georgia really know how to cook! Yep and double yep. What I found interesting and totally delicious was something I never heard of before. Susie Brooks Fouts called it Chicken Stew and she said it has another name, chicken mull,  but it was not like anything I ever had before. I can’t say it was the prettiest stew I’ve ever seen but boy oh boy, it had a taste that was rich and wonderful. She said it’s a local dish whose epicenter is in the Athens area and maybe made in South Carolina as well.

I was determined to look it up and in fact, not too much is known about it. From what I can see, it was traced to Greenville County where the men would make TONS of the stuff to raise money for charity. It may have started as a fish muddle somewhere near the coast in Virginia and moved down as people migrated southward, . They also put turtle meat in with the chicken and boiled hell out of it . Anyway you look at it,  the north Georgians put their unique stamp on it to be sure, and it’s down right lip smacking good.   If you want to know the documented history of Mull or Muddle as it’s know, check out this link- most interesting .


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Susie described how she made it and the lady who writes the  Boonie Foodie blog has a similar recipe. Where Susie differed is that she used whole milk instead of chicken stock and a load of butter, my guess is 3 tbs  based on what I saw floating. She used Club Crackers to thicken it and I think that’s what I would used rather than Saltines. Stewing the chicken in the pot would be good but hers was liquified so I would think crock potting it or using an immersion blender would achieve the results wanted for a pulverized chicken stew. She also used Texas Pete for heat….just right!!! I guess a person could fancy it up with fresh corn, an onion, and celery  which would be unreal good and notch it up another level but it wouldn’t be tradition. Anyway you go,though, this is one heck of a true comfort soup.

boonie foodie

Chicken Mull
A Family Recipe

One whole roasting chicken (4-5 lbs)
2-3 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cans of evaporated milk or 3 1/2 cups milk or cream
2-3 sleeves of Ritz (or crackers of choice)
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil chicken in deep stockpot or crockpot, with enough water to cover, until meat is done and tender. Remove chicken from stock, let cool enough to handle, and shred meat from the bone. Strain stock back into cooking pot, add shredded meat, milk and additional broth. Let cook to a simmer, add crushed crackers and salt and pepper, and cook to desired thickness. Add more crackers if needed. Serve with hot sauce and extra crackers if desired.

It really is as simple as that. More crackers means a thicker mull; using milk or cream means a richer mull than using evaporated milk. It’s extremely forgiving, and very tasty.


Out of curiosity, I looked at 18th century cookbooks as well as Kay Moss’s ” Back Country Housewife” and “Seeking the Historical Cook”, Marty Davidson’s “Grandma Grace’s Southern Favorites” and Joseph Dabney’s “Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread and Scuppernog Wine: The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking”, and other than Hannah Glasse’s milk soup and soup made the Dutch way and Hodge Podge which was a pre 1744 southern recipe with variations, , nothing comes remotely close.

I was going to roast a chicken using the tin reflector oven and make dumplings but thought better of it as the chicken didn’t need the heat in 20 degree temps as much as I did. I rethought my cooking demo and got a little help from Stephen Block ( http://www.kitchenproject.com/ ). I asked him if German cooks marinated backbones and ribs like a sauerbraten and he said yes so I used his herb combination plus added 2 galengale roots and marinated my Texas pork ribs and sausages for three days. If you want to know more about sauerbraten or any other food, check out his site. it’s WONDERFUL!!! I also shedded a cabbage and salted it in a crock to do an early sauerkraut and there was just enough fermentation. I added this to two cans of sauerkraut. I think next time, I’ll only add one can as there was so much.

Pork,and Sauerkraut, German style

Pork,and Sauerkraut, German style

Pork ribs, Sausages and Sauerkraut
Marinated pork and sausages ( cup of apple cider vinegar, cup of water, 6 each bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, cardamom seeds , mace, 2 tbs dark brown sugar and dried onion, salt) for minimum of three days, maximum of seven. I crushed all the herbs and toasted them, then added to the organic cider vinegar (Braggs) and water and simmered it. I put the meat in a freezer bag and marinated it for three days. When I was ready to cook, I the seared the pork and sausages in bacon drippings and layered between fresh sauerkraut, diced apples, carrots and leeks . I added canned sauerkraut 40 minutes before serving. Stewed until done. Thicken broth with crushed gingersnaps and add port soaked raisins to taste.

Pickens County Cornmeal Dumplings

1 cup cornmeal, ½ cup flour, 2 tsp dissolved pearl ash or baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 2 eggs, ½ cup milk, 1 tbs melted butter, 2 green onions including the green finely chopped, 1 celery rib chopped fine, fresh thyme. Salt and pepper . Mix together adding butter last and drop by spoonfuls into boiling stock (I siphoned the stock from the pork and sauerkraut and added a little boiling water. OH IT WAS GOOD!!!) . Boil for 12 minutes, simmer for 3 minutes. Turn out to a tureen with broth.
Pickens Co. Cornmeal Drop Dumplings

Pickens Co. Cornmeal Drop Dumplings

I had the makings for these two recipes but with a huge Heritage chocolate and Stout Cake and so few people to eat, I decided to make this at the next muster , but it’s good nonetheless.

Kilt Lettuce and Onion
Soft lettuce and sliced green onion. Dressing of 2 T bacon grease, 2 T white vinegar, 1 T sugar, salt , pepper .

Molasses Gingerbread
½ cup unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, ½ cup molasses, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp soda, 1 tsp each : ginger, cloves, cinnamon, allspice. 1 cup boiling water.
Cream the butter and sugar, Add eggs and molasses and mix well. Add dry ingredients and blend thoroughly. Stir in boiling water. Put in buttered pan. Bake in dutch oven 30-40 minutes until done in center.

Molly burning something....

Molly burning something….

It’s going to be a cold and possibly snowy weekend come the February muster. I want to make some 18th century rib sticking faire and what coukd be better than roasted chicken and dumplings. I found this wonderful blog about the subject and can’t resist reprinting it here.

Thehistoricfoodie's Blog

During the first Great Depression, (as opposed to the one we’re enjoying now), dumplings were a Southern staple.  The dumplings were pretty much the same, but the meat in the pot varied from the standard chicken to squirrel, rabbit, bits of ham, and whatever else happened to be available.  They were basic but filling.

Our 18th century ancestors enjoyed them for the same reasons our grandparents did – they were inexpensive, filling, and could be made quickly with whatever tidbits the cook had at her disposal.

John Day referenced eating a dish of dumplings in 1608 but gave no indication of how they were prepared, and diarist Samuel Pepys did not fail to mention dumplings with a boiled calves head in 1663.  (In the days when no part of the animal was wasted heads routinely went into the pot)

H. Pitman who referred to himself and his brother as…

View original post 1,053 more words

Orange slices after 4 boilings, being candied with sugar and water.

Orange slices after 4 boilings, being candied with sugar and water.

I have read that candied citrus peels was a very popular confection of the 18th century. Certainly, there are quite a few recipes that call for candied peel but you can’t buy them . Because they were period candy, I decided to make them with what was left of about 9  navel oranges I had left from Old Christmas.I peeled all of the oranges and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge for a few days. This way, I was able to cut much more of the white away without ripping the skin and it made this batch oh so much  than others I had made. The recipe for candying goes as follows:

9 oranges ( or less) , scrubbed, peeled into quarters

4 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 cup water

Remove as much of the pith as possible and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Put them in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil them 15 minutes, Drain and rinse. repeat this process 4 times as it removes the oils that make them bitter.

While you are doing this, mix 3 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water, bring this to a boil , then lower to medium and stir. This makes a simple syrup and is slightly thick.

After the last boil, add the rinsed skins to the syrup and bring back up to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

In the 18th century, they let the slices steep in the syrup for a day or two so I took them out of the pot and put them in a non reactive crock for two days.

After two days, I drained the slices and spread them out of drying racks with parchment paper underneath to catch the drips. I laid waxed paper over the racks as the slices need to dry for 3 days total. On day two into the drying, while they were still tacky, I put a cup of sugar in a pan and rolled the slices in the sugar to cover them on both sides and let them dry for the final day. When they were dry, I put them in a sealed plastic container and they will keep for months.

I have made orange cookies with Triple Sec instead of vanilla and the candied peels chopped up in the food processor and they were delicious. I found an interesting recipe from the HISTORY IS SERVED site of Colonial Williamsburg that I would like to try. It’s called “TO MAKE ORANGE LOAVES” and is a different  take on candied peels.

A totally different approach to cake and fruit. Sugary and rich, this recipe reverses the practice of mixing candied fruit into cake, instead putting cake into candied fruit.

18th Century

Take your orange, and cut a round hole in the top, take out all the meat, and as much of the white as you can, without breaking the skin; then boil them in water till tender, shifting the water till it is not bitter, then take them up and wipe them dry; then take a pound of fine sugar, a quart of water (or in proportion to the oranges), boil it, and take off the scum as it rises; then put in your oranges, and let them boil a little, and let them lie a day or two in the syrup; take the yolks of two eggs, a quarter of a pint of cream (or more), beat them well together, then grate in two Naples biscuits, or white bread, a quarter of a pound of butter, and four spoonfuls of sack; mix it altogether till your butter is melted, then fill the oranges with it, and bake them in a slow oven as long as you would a custard, then stick on some citron, and fill them up with sack, butter and sugar grated over.

Glasse, Hannah, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple,” 1796.

21st Century

  • 6 medium oranges
  • 1 lb. sugar
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 4 oz. cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp. sherry
  • Sponge cakes or white bread — the equivalent of two large muffins in size
  • For topping: 3 oz. each of citron and candied orange peel and a sauce of 2 Tbsp. each of Sherry, melted butter and sugar heated and mixed together.
  1. Take your oranges and cut off the tops of each about one fifth the way down from the stem.
  2. Scoop out the inside of the orange as best you can including the white. If you use a small tea spoon and hold the orange in your palm, it will be easier to scrape it out.
  3. Boil the orange shells and lids in the water until tender but not folding or falling apart.
  4. Take them out, let them cool some and pat them dry gently with a cloth.
  5. Take half or more of the water the oranges were boiled in, add the sugar and bring to a boil in a medium stew pan.
  6. While it is boiling add the orange shells and lids and let them boil a few minutes.
  7. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool.
  8. Put the oranges and water in a covered container and set them in the refrigerator for a couple of days to saturate with the syrup, stirring them a couple of times a day.
  9. When they have saturated you are ready to fill them.
  10. In a mixing bowl, beat your eggs very well, add the cream, cake crumb, butter and sherry. Mix this together well with a spoon.
  11. Gently fill your orange shells with this “cake” mixture.
  12. Bake the oranges and their lids in a 350° oven for close to half an hour or more. They should not get dark brown on the outside, but a deeper orange color. The “cake” should bake as well.
  13. After coming from the oven, place the chopped citron and candied orange peel on top of each cake. After heating up the sherry, butter and sugar sauce spoon that over each cake to let it soak in. Send them to the table with lids on or next to them on the plate.

Ivan Day, noted expert wrote a wonderful article about the confectionary arts . It definitely bears reading. http://www.historicfood.com/The%20Art%20of%20Confectionery.pdf

Thought you might enjoy this: I bet that poor girl was vocally pooped by the end of the selling day!


Cry: White turnips and fine carrots ho! White turnips and carrots ho! Will you buy my choice carrots and young turnips ho! White turnips and fine carrots ho!
White turnips and fine carrots ho! White turnips and carrots ho! Will you buy my choice carrots and young turnips ho! White turnips and fine carrots ho!
(Plate 13)_, 1797, by Francis Wheatley (English, 1747-1801).

From: Untitled pamphlet of 12 Cries of London: plates 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13, Associated Newspapers Ltd, London England, 1955.