My comfort food is German and that’s what I make a lot at the fort. I can justify it by knowing that there were a lot of German settlers that came to the Watauga by way of the Great Road from Pennsylvania. I got a recipe from my friend, Chef Stephen Block, and made it with beef at home. WINNER!!! Technically it’s a venison dish and there is a venison roast that Earl Slagle gave me just waiting to be cooked so that’s dinner at the public house, aka Cabin 4, the Hillbilly Hilton, for the February muster.

Here’s the recipe and it’s wonderbar!


1 lb venison (or stewing beef), cubed, all the silver flesh cut off

a few spoonfuls of bacon fat

4 small onions, halved and wedged

4 shallots, wedged

1 tbs flour

3/4 bottle of red wine (I used merlot)

1 cup beef broth (2-3 cups if you make dumplings)

1 tsp beef bullion crystals

3 tablespoons good paprika (I used 2 of sweet Hungarian paprika and one of smoked)

1 tsp cayenne

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tsp minced rosemary

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

8 juniper berries

8 peppercorns

2 fresh bay leaves

2 tbs lingonberry jam

salt and pepper to taste (add at the last)

1 lb crimini or baby bella mushrooms (add last 15 minutes)


  • Brown the meat in the bacon fat and then set aside.
  • Add the onions, shallots, Brown and then add the flour and cook 1-2 minutes. then add the garlic
  • deglaze the pot using the wine. Add the broth and bullion. Simmer on low heat.
  • Add the spices (after you toast them gently in a separate pot to release their flavors), jam and meat.
  • Cover and simmer and hour or until the meat is tender.
  • Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste the last 15 minutes

Thicken the gravy if you don’t make dumplings (pats of butter rolled in flour will make a wonderful thickener and glaze the gravy)


1 egg

6 tbs flour

pinch of salt


add to broth and when they float, they are done.

Serve with pickled red cabbage.




Medieval kitchen:cooks making Venyson y Broth

I’ve made Cock-A-Leekie Soup and now I need something else to make celebrating Scotland’s greatest poet’s birth complete. It’s Venyson y Broth and this is the original receipt.

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

Take Rybbys of Venysoun, and wasshe hem clene in fayre water, an strayne the same water thorw a straynoure in-to a potte, an caste ther-to Venysoun, also Percely, Sawge, powder Pepyr, Clowys, Maces, Vynegre, and a lytyl Red wyne caste there-to; an thanne latte it boyle tyl it be y-now, & serue forth.

– Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.

Modern redaction:


  • 1 pound venison, beef or pork ribs
  • 2 pounds venison, beef or pork
  • 4 C water
  • 1/2 C dry red wine
  • 1 T wine vinegar
  • 2 T parsley, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp mace
  • Salt to taste

1. Trim the fat from the ribs, and trim and cut the rest of the meat into bite-sized pieces.

1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add venison or other ribs, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for forty-five minutes. Remove ribs, allow to cool, and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.

2. Return the rib meat to the pot, and add all other ingredients. Return to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for half an hour more, or until all the meat is cooked through. Serve in individual bowls.

MollyNote: I’m going to add some barley. I bet it’s going to be a wonderful beefie-barley stew.

Post Script: I made this recipe tonight and it is the MOST DELICIOUS soup I’ve had.  Instead of ribs,I cut up a chuck steak and added the pieces. The broth is tasty and rich and the flavor is tangy and beefy. Man alive, that Middle Ages bunch sure could cook!