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by Lafcadio Hearn
LA CUISINE CREOLE
A COLLECTION OFCULINARY RECIPES
From Leading Chefs and Noted Creole House-wives,
Who Have Made New Orleans
Famous for Its Cuisine
first published 1885
"La Cuisine Creole" (Creole cookery) partakes of the nature of its birthplace--New Orleans--which is cosmopolitan in its nature, blending the characteristics of the American, French, Spanish, Italian, West Indian and Mexican. In this compilation will be found many original recipes and other valuable ones heretofore unpublished, notably those of Gombo file, Bouille-abaisse, Courtbouillon, Jambolaya, Salade a la Russe, Bisque of Cray-fish a la Creole, Pusse Cafe, Cafe brule, Brulot, together with many confections and delicacies for the sick, including a number of mixed drinks. Much domestic contentment depends upon the successful preparation of the meal; and as food rendered indigestible through ignorance in cooking often creates discord and unhappiness, it behooves the young housekeeper to learn the art of cooking.
It is the author's endeavor to present to her a number of recipes all thoroughly tested by experience, and embracing the entire field of the "Cuisine," set forth in such clear, concise terms, as to be readily understood and easily made practicable, thereby unveiling the mysteries which surround her, upon the entree into the kitchen. Economy and simplicity govern "La Cuisine Creole"; and its many savory dishes are rendered palatable more as the result of care in their preparation than any great skill or expensive outlay in the selection of materials. The Creole housewife often makes delicious morceaux from the things usually thrown away by the extravagant servant. She is proud of her art, and deservedly receives the compliments of her friends. This volume will be found quite different from the average cook-book in its treatment of recipes, and is the only one in print containing dishes peculiar to "la Cuisine Creole."
LA CUISINE CREOLE
Soup being the first course served at all ordinary dinners, we make it the basis for preliminary remarks. Nothing more palatable than good, well-made soup, and nothing less appetising than poor soup. Now to attain perfection in any line, care and attention are requisite, careful study a necessity, and application the moving force. Hence, cooking in all its branches should be studied as a science, and not be looked upon as a haphazard mode of getting through life. Cooking is in a great measure a chemical process, and the ingredients of certain dishes should be as carefully weighed and tested as though emanating from the laboratory. Few female cooks think of this, but men with their superior instinctive reasoning power are more governed by law and abide more closely to rule; therefore, are better cooks, and command higher prices for services.
Now, with regard to soup making, the first care is to have the fire brisk, the vessel in which it is cooked thoroughly cleaned and free from odor. To insure this, keep one vessel sacred to soup as nearly as possible; and after serving wash the pot with potash water, or take a piece of washing soda the size of a nutmeg, dissolve inhot water and then cleanse the vessel. A good workman is known by his tools, so also a good cook will look well to the utensils before commencing operations. Good results follow carefulness.
Soup must have time to cook, and should always boil gently, that the meat may become tender, and give out its juices. Allow a quart of water and a teaspoonful of salt for each pound of meat. Soup meat must always be put down in cold water. Skim well before it comes to the boiling point, and again skim off superfluous fat before putting in the vegetables. The vegetables most used in soups are carrots, leeks, parsley, turnip, celery, tomatoes, okras, cabbage, cauliflower, peas and potatoes.
One large leek, two carrots, one bunch of parsley, two turnips and a potato, will be enough for one pot of soup.
One head of celery, two leeks, two turnips, and five or six small potatoes will be enough another time.
Six tomatoes skinned, the juice strained from the seeds, a leek, a bunch of parsley, and six potatoes will answer for another style; a carrot, some cabbage, tomatoes, and potatoes will do another time.
Okra alone is vegetable enough for a gombo, unless onion is liked with it. Green peas, lettuce, and new potatoes are enough for spring lamb soup. Vermicelli and macaroni are for chicken, lamb or veal soup, with the addition of onion if liked.
It is well to prepare the vegetables when the meat is put over the fire to boil; allow a quart of water to a pound of meat. Trim and scrape carrots, then cut or grate them. Wash parsley and cut it small. Pare turnips and cut them in slices a quarter of an inch thick. Cut leeks in thick slices. Cut celery in half lengths; the delicate green leaves give a fine flavor to the soup.
Pour boiling water on tomatoes, which will cause the skins to peel off easily; when cool, squeeze out the seeds, and reserve the juice for use in soup.
Shave cabbage in thin slices. Slice okra for gombo or okra soup. Pare the potatoes, shell the peas, and cut off green corn from the cob, for all these add fine flavor to soup.
To color soup brown, use browned flour or a little burnt sugar. Spinach leaves give a fine green color. Pound the leaves, tie them in a cloth, and squeeze out all the juice which add to the soup five minutes before serving. This is also used to give color to mock-turtle soup.
You may color soup red by putting in the strained juice of tomatoes, or the whole tomato, if it is run through a sieve; grated carrot gives a fine amber color; okra gives a pale green.
For white soups, which are made of veal, lamb, and chicken, white vegetables are best, such as rice, pearl barley, vermicelli, and macaroni; the thickening should then be made of unbrowned flour.
STOCK FOR SOUP
Stock in its composition is not confined to any set rules for any particular proportions. All cook books give particular as well as general directions for its manufacture; but all cooks know that the most economical plan is to have a general stock-pot, where, or into which, you can throw any pieces of beef or any piece of meat from which gravy can be extracted--bones, skin, brisket or tops of ribs, ox-cheek, ham, trimmings of turkey and other fowls, pieces of mutton, bacon, veal, game, etc., etc. In fact, anything that will become a jelly will assist in making stock. To this medley of ingredients add pepper, salt, spices, herbs, carrots cut small, onions, and curry, if wished, etc., and stew all to a rich consistency over a slow fire, and then remove to cool. When cool, or rather cold, every particle of fat must be removed and stock poured clear of all sediment; it is now ready for use. When very rich soup is desired, the jelly from a cow-heel, or lump of butter rolled in flour, must be added to the stock.
TO CLARIFY STOCKS OR SOUPS
The whites of two eggs to about four quarts of stock or soup; two pints and a half of cold water.
Whisk the whites of two fresh eggs with half a pint of water for ten minutes; then pour in very gently the four quarts of boiling stock or soup, stirring it all the time. Place the stewpan over the fire, and skim the mixture till clear before allowing it to boil. When on the point of boiling, stir rapidly; then place it a little back from the fire, and let it settle till the whites of the eggs become separated. Strain it through a fine cloth placed over a sieve, and it will be clear and good.
STOCK FOR GRAVIES
Cut the meat from a knuckle of veal, and put it, with a pound of lean beef, into two quarts of water; add one table-spoonful of salt and a teaspoonful of pepper; cover it close, and let it stew until the meat is very tender; then strain it and keep it for rich soups or gravies, as thinning them with water spoils them.
Always keep a pot or stewpan in which to throw all nice pieces of meat left from dinner, also any steak, bones, chicken wings, etc., etc. This makes a reserve of stock with very little fresh meat. It is useful and economical, and, being without vegetables, never sours. In making oyster soup use a pint or so of this stock to the usual quart of oysters and a pint of milk.
PLAIN BEEF SOUP
Five pounds of the leg or shin of beef; one gallon of water; a teaspoonful of salt; two heads of celery; five carrots; three onions; four turnips; two tomatoes, and a bunch of sweet herbs. Boil four hours and a half.
Cut the meat in two or three pieces, and put them into a pot with a gallon of cold water, which gradually soaks out the juices of the meat before coming to the boil. Salt well, then skim as the soup heats. Boil slowly with a regular heat for about four hours; then add two heads of celery, five carrots cut small, two tomatoes, three onions sliced and fried, and the sweet herbs tied up in muslin. The turnips should be added half an hour before serving. If any portion of the meat is required for the table, take it from the soup about two hours before dinner. Let the remainder be left in the soup, which must be strained through a hair sieve before it is served.
SOUP ET BOUILLI
Six or eight pounds of a brisket of beef; three carrots; four turnips; two onions; six cloves; two heads of celery; one clove of garlic; a bunch of sweet herbs; a little salt; a piece of butter; a little flour; one French roll; a tablespoonful of French mustard.
Put the beef into a pot and cover it with water, and when it boils take off the scum as it rises; then draw it to the side of the fire to stew slowly for five or six hours, with the carrots, turnips, celery, garlic, bunch of sweet herbs, and the onions stuck with cloves. When done lay the bouilli on a hot dish, and strew over it some carrots, turnips and the stalks of celery, previously boiled and cut into shapes. Add to it a sauce made of a little of the soup, thickened with flour fried in butter, and seasoned with pepper and salt. Strain the soup over a French roll placed at the bottom of the tureen and serve. The bouilli may have a spoonful of French mustard added to the soup sauce.
BROTH IN HASTE
Cut some rare roast meat or broiled steak very fine. To a teacupful of the cut meat put a pint and a half of boiling water; cover it, and set it on the fire for ten minutes; season to taste. Roll a cracker fine, and put in with the meat. This broth is both excellent and convenient for invalids or children.
PLAIN CHICKEN-BROTH FOR AN INVALID
Cut a young fowl into four parts, wash well in cold water, put the pieces in a stewpan with one quart of cold water and a little salt; let it boil gently, skim it well; add the white heart of a head of lettuce and a handful of chervil. Boil the broth for an hour, then strain it into a bowl. Two tablespoonfuls of pearl barley added to the broth when first put on makes it quite nourishing for an invalid.
CRAYFISH-BROTH FOR PURIFYING THE BLOOD
Take two pounds of the lean part of very white veal, chop it very fine; add to it three dozen crayfish and a handful of green chervil; pound them together to thoroughly bruise the crayfish; then put the whole into a stewpan, and pour upon it three pints of cold spring water; add a little salt, and place the stewpan on the stove to boil. After half an hour, set it back on the stove, and let it simmer very gently for an hour, then strain. It should be taken fasting to insure its best effect.
SOUPE MAIGRE, WITHOUT MEAT, FOR LENT
Melt half a pound of butter in a stewpan, put in six onions sliced; add two heads of celery cut small, one-half a head of white cabbage, and a bunch of chopped parsley; let them boil twenty minutes, then stir in three rolled crackers; pour in two quarts of boiling milk, or milk and water; let this boil up gently for half an hour, and just before serving stir in two well-beaten eggs.
CHICKEN SOUP. YELLOW AND VERY RICH
Take two pounds of veal, half as much beef or lamb, and one small chicken cut up; boil them in three quarts of water, skim off all the scum as it rises; slice a leek or two onions, grate a large carrot or two small ones; put all these to the soup; add two tablespoonfuls of salt and one of pepper. Let it boil gently for two hours, then add a spoonful of butter worked in flour; cover this for fifteen minutes, and serve in a tureen. Take the chicken into a deep dish, put over it butter, pepper, and sprigs of parsley; or you may chop the chicken up, season with pepper, salt, butter, and an egg; form into balls, roll them in flour, and drop them in a few minutes before serving.
VEAL GRAVY SOUP
Throw into a stewpan one pound veal cutlet, three slices of ham, two tablespoonfuls of lard, and let them fry gently; then, before browning, add three sliced onions, two carrots, two parsnips, a head of celery, and a few cloves. Let them cook slowly till lightly browned, then add a pint and a half of boiling broth or water; let this cook for an hour, and then put in a cup of mushrooms; skim and strain for use.
SCOTCH BARLEY BROTH. CHEAP AND SUBSTANTIAL
Wash half a pound of Scotch barley in cold water; put it in a pot with four or five pounds of shin beef sawed into small pieces, cover it with cold water and set it on the fire. When it boils skim it well, and then add three onions. Set it near the fire to simmer gently for two hours. If much fat rises skim again; then add two heads of celery and a couple of turnips cut into thin pieces. Season with salt, and let it boil for an hour and a half. Take out the meat on a platter and cover to keep warm; then pour the soup in a tureen and serve.
CONSOMME OF BEEF AND FOWL
Take two pounds of lean beef and a fowl half roasted and cut in pieces, put into a saucepan, which must be filled with stock or plain broth; skim it well, salt it to taste, and add two carrots, two onions, a head of celery or a pinch of celery seed, also a little thyme, a whole pepper, mace, and a bay leaf. Let it simmer gently for three or four hours, then strain through a coarse cloth; free it entirely from fat, and clarify it with the white of an egg.
WHITE CONSOMME OF FOWL
Take one or two fowls, old or young. Let them lie half an hour in cold water to cleanse from the blood, then drain and put them in a pot; fill it with water, let it boil, then skim it. Add one large carrot, or two small ones, two turnips, one onion, one head of celery, two cloves, a piece of mace, a little salt. Let it boil gently for two hours if the chickens are young; if old, three hours. When they are tender, skim off the fat, and pass the consomme through a sieve. This consomme may be considered a basis for all white soups, as well as white sauces, and should be used instead of water for filling them up.
PLAIN VERMICELLI SOUP, NO. 1
Put a soup-bone, weighing from two to three pounds, or a brisket of beef, into four quarts of water; add two onions, two carrots, and two turnips; salt to taste, and place over the fire to boil for three hours; then remove and strain; put back on the stove, and add a quarter of a pound of vermicelli, and let it boil till tender; serve with tomatoes.
VERMICELLI SOUP, NO. 2
Cut about four pounds of knuckle of veal, one pound and a half of the scrag of mutton, and a few slices of ham into small pieces; put them into a saucepan with one onion stuck with cloves, and four ounces of butter; then add the carrots, mace, bunch of sweet herbs, one anchovy, and the celery. Mix all together, cover it close, and set it over the fire till all the gravy has been extracted from the meat; pour the liquor into a bowl, let the meat brown in the pan, and add to it four quarts of water; boil it slowly till it is reduced to three pints, strain it, and stir in the gravy drawn from the meat. Set it over the fire, add the vermicelli, one head of celery cut fine, a little cayenne, and salt; boil it up for ten minutes. Lay a French roll in the tureen, pour the soup over it, and strew some vermicelli on the top.
Cut the beef or mutton and the vegetables in pieces, season them with salt and pepper, and put them into a jar with a pint of peas and the Patna rice. Pour in four quarts of water, cover the jar very closely, and set it in the oven to bake. When done, strain it through a sieve, and serve it very hot.
VERMICELLI OR MACARONI SOUP
Swell a quarter of a pound of vermicelli or macaroni (whichever is preferred) in a quart of warm water for one hour; then add it to some good stock or plain veal, chicken or beef soup; add a spoonful of butter and half a pint of stewed tomatoes just before the soup is served. This is a very fine soup, and is especially nourishing for delicate stomachs.
GREEN PEA SOUP, WITHOUT MEAT, FOR LENT
Put two pints of green peas in two quarts of water, boil until the peas are very soft; then add three or four onions, two heads of celery, a carrot, and a turnip, all cut small; season with salt to taste, add a little butter, and boil for two hours. If it becomes too thick, add one pint of boiling water. The peas may be boiled the day before, and kept over for convenience, if desired. This recipe is intended for green peas but it may be made with dried peas also, and the longer they boil, the better the soup will be. Do not add the vegetables until the day it is wanted.
TOMATO SOUP WITH VEGETABLES. VERY FINE
Cut small, three carrots, three heads of celery, four onions and two turnips; put them into a saucepan with a tablespoonful of butter, a slice of ham and a half cup of water; let them simmer gently for an hour; then if a very rich soup is desired add to the vegetables two or three quarts of good soup stock, made by boiling a beef bone in three quarts of water until the meat is tender. Let all boil together for half an hour, and then add ten or twelve ripe tomatoes and a half-dozen whole peppers. It should cook for another hour or so. It must then be strained through a sieve or coarse cloth. Serve with toasted or fried bread cut in bits in the tureen. This is an elegant family soup, particularly nice in summer when the vegetables are fresh.
CHEAP WHITE SOUP
Chop up any remains you may have of cold veal, chicken, game or rabbit roasted dry. Grate them, beat them in a mortar, and rub them through a sieve. Then add to the panada a quart of stock, put it into a saucepan and cook. Pay great attention to skimming as it boils.
QUEEN VICTORIA'S FAVORITE GREEN PEA SOUP
Take two quarts of green peas, a double-handful of parsley, four stalks of green mint, and a good handful of green onions. Have ready two quarts of veal or beef stock, place it on the fire, throw in the above peas, mint and onions. Let them all boil; when they are thoroughly done take them out, drain them and pound them well together. Put them in the stewpan again with the liquor; warm it and run it through a sieve. Add at the last moment a half pound of butter and a spoonful of sugar. Serve with fried bread.
ECONOMICAL GREEN PEA FAMILY SOUP WITH EGG DUMPLINGS
Take a quart of shelled English peas for a large family, but if for a small family a pint will do. Put on the fire a veal bone or half a chicken; if a pint only of peas is used add any broiled steak, bones, nice scraps, or a small beef marrow bone; set it on the fire with a gallon of water and let it boil two hours. Then tie up in a muslin bag, one coffeecupful of the green peas; let the others stand in a cool place until wanted. Put this bag of peas into the pot with the beef and chicken stock, and let them boil until the peas are perfectly done. Skim out the peas, meat and bones, and add the rest of the peas, and let them boil gently. While these are cooking pour the peas in the bag into a pan and mash them smoothly; then add to them a batter made with two eggs, a spoonful of milk and flour. Add to the boiling peas a spoonful of butter and a little eschalot, if the flavor of onion is liked; then drop the batter in gently, a little at a time, in small round dumplings, and when they boil up your soup is ready to serve. This is an excellent spring soup, and is improved by adding lettuce heads, but they must be taken out before the dumplings are put in, as they give a dark color if left in too long.
CLEAR PEA SOUP
Take two quarts of good beef or veal soup stock--which is better for being boiled the day before; into this put a quart of young green peas, heads of lettuce, and a sprig of mint; add salt and pepper to taste.
DRIED SPLIT-PEA SOUP
Take a good beef marrow-bone of one or two pounds weight, or the remains of roast beef-bones and gravy; add a slice of ham. Put these in a pot with a gallon of cold water; throw in the pot two cups of split peas or small white beans, two carrots, two turnips, two large onions or three small ones, a stalk of celery cut in pieces, a bunch of thyme, and a teaspoonful of mixed black and red pepper. When the vegetables are quite soft, which will be in about two hours, take the soup from the fire, strain it through a sieve or coarse cloth; add salt, and put on the fire again and boil for a few moments; then pour it over toasted bread.
GREEN CORN SOUP. VERY DELICATE
Cut corn from the cob until you have at least a pint; cover it with a quart of sweet milk. Let it boil half an hour, add a teaspoonful of salt, skim it carefully, then throw into it a piece of butter the size of a hen's-egg and pepper to suit your taste. Serve with rolls or toasted bread.
OYSTER SOUP. DELICATE
Take the oysters from their liquor. To every quart of the liquor add a pint of water or milk (milk is preferable); season with salt, pepper, butter, and toasted bread-crumbs that have been toasted and pounded. When this has boiled, put in a quart of oysters to two quarts of liquor. Let all boil a few minutes, and serve.
ANOTHER OYSTER SOUP. VERY STRENGTHENING
Take a knuckle of veal or a piece of lamb; allow a quart of water and a teaspoonful of salt to each pound; set it over the fire, let it come to a boil, skim it well and then set it back on the stove. Let it simmer for two hours. This will form a fine, strong, nourishing stock for the soup. Take out the meat, and skim the stock clear; put in half a pound of rolled crackers and a quart of nice oysters. Let it boil up, and finish by putting in a large tablespoonful of butter, and pepper and salt to taste. Macaroni or vermicelli can be substituted for the crackers, if preferred.
TURTLE SOUP FOR A LARGE COMPANY, NO. 1
Cut the head off the turtle the day before you dress it, and drain the blood thoroughly from the body. Then cut it up in the following manner: Divide the back, belly, head and fins from the intestines and lean parts. Be careful not to cut the gall bag. Scald in boiling water to remove the skin and shell. Cut up in neat pieces and throw into cold water. Boil the back and belly in a little water long enough to extract the bones easily. If for a large company a leg of veal will also be required, and a slice of ham, which must be stewed with the lean parts till well browned; then add boiling water, and the liquor and bones of the boiled turtle. Season with sliced lemon, whole pepper, a bunch of parsley, two leeks sliced, and salt to taste. Let this all boil slowly for four hours then strain. Add the pieces of back, belly, head and fins (take the bones from the fins), pour in half a pint of Madeira wine and a quarter of a pound of good sweet butter, with a tablespoonful of flour worked in it; also, a lemon sliced thin. Let it boil gently for two hours, then serve.
In cutting up the turtle great care should be taken of the fat, which should be separated, cut up neatly, and stewed till tender in a little of the liquor, and put into the tureen when ready to serve. Garnish with the eggs, if any; if not, use hard-boiled eggs of fowls.
TURTLE SOUP NO. 2
Put on, at an early hour in the morning, eight pounds of beef or veal, one pound of ham or bacon, eight onions, with pepper, salt, and sweet herbs to taste. Make a rich soup of this, and add to it the liquor of a boiled turtle; season very high with wine, spice, cayenne, and catsup. Put in the flesh of the turtle, prepared as in recipe No. 1--do not use the eyes or tongue. Let this boil up till tender, and serve with force-meat balls in tureen.
Curry powder will give a higher flavor to soups than spice.
PLAIN MOCK-TURTLE SOUP
Boil a calf's-head until very tender; take out the head, strain the liquor, and skim off the fat when cold, and keep till following day. Cut up the meat of the head and brain, and add to the liquor; place over the fire, after seasoning to taste with pepper, salt, mace, cloves, sweet, herbs, and onions. Let it stew an hour, then add a tumbler of white wine, and it is ready for the force-meat balls. For the balls, chop a pound of lean veal with half a pound of salt pork; add the brains of the calf's-head, seasoned with pepper, salt, mace, cloves, sweet herbs, or curry powder. Make into balls the size of the yolk of an egg; boil part in the soup, fry the rest for a separate dish.
MOCK-TURTLE SOUP NO. 2
Put into a pot a knuckle of veal, two calf's feet, two onions, a few cloves, pepper, allspice, mace and sweet herbs; cover them with water; tie a thick paper over the pot, or cover it close. Let it stew four hours Remove from the fire and let it cool. When cold take off the fat very nicely, cut the meat and feet into bits an inch square, remove the bones and coarse parts; then place over the fire again to warm. Add a large spoonful of walnut catsup, one of mushroom catsup, a little mushroom powder, or a few mushrooms, and the jelly of the meat. When hot, serve with hard eggs, force-meat balls, and the juice of one lemon.
MOCK-TURTLE SOUP. EXCELLENT, NO. 3
Clean a calf's head nicely, split it and take out the brains; put the head into considerably more water than will cover it. Let it boil gently, and skim it carefully; when very tender take it out and cut in small pieces. Put into the boiling soup three pounds of beef and a knuckle of veal with all the bones broken fine. Add to this four or five onions, a carrot and turnip sliced, and a bunch of sweet herbs. Let it boil gently for three hours. Parboil the tongue and brains of the calf's head, and add them when the soup is nearly done. Let it cool and take off the fat.
To finish it for the table, melt a quarter of a pound of nice fresh butter, add a handful of flour and stir over the fire till the butter and flour are brown; add to this a little of the soup, a few sprigs of parsley and sweet basil; boil it for fifteen minutes and add it to the soup, together with two tablespoonfuls of catsup, the juice of a lemon, and salt to taste. It is usual to add a pint of sherry. When dished in the tureen, put in two dozen egg balls.
EGG BALLS FOR MOCK-TURTLE SOUP
Make a paste of the yolks of four hard-boiled eggs and the white of two raw ones; season with salt and cayenne pepper. Take bits of the paste the size of small marbles, run them in flour and roll into balls; fry carefully in butter and drop into the soup.
Cut each joint of two ox-tails with a meat-saw, steep them in water for two hours; then place them in a stew-pan with three carrots, three turnips, three onions, two heads of celery, four cloves, and a blade of mace.
Fill up the stew-pan from the boiling stock-pot; boil this over a slow fire until done and the joints quite tender. Take them out, cool them, and clarify the broth. Strain this into a soup-pot, put with it the pieces of ox-tail, some olive shaped pieces of carrot and turnipwhich have been boiled in a little of the broth; add to this when it has boiled half an hour a small lump of sugar and a little red pepper. This soup is excellent, and may be served with any kind of vegetables strained in it, such as puree of peas, carrots, turnips, or celery.
Cut one or two rabbits into joints; lay them for an hour in cold water; dry and fry them in butter until they are half done; place the meat in a saucepan with four or five onions and a head of celery cut small; add to these three parts of cold water and a cup of peas, either green or dry; season with pepper and salt, then strain and serve it. Some like it unstrained.
REMARKS ON GOMBO OF OKRA OR FILEE
This is a most excellent form of soup, and is an economical way of using up the remains of any cold roasted chicken, turkey, game, or other meats. Cut up and season the chicken, meat, or other material to make the soup; fry to a light brown in a pot, and add boiling water in proportion to your meat. Two pounds of meat or chicken (bones and all), with a half pound of ham, or less of breakfast-bacon, will flavor a gallon of soup, which, when boiled down, will make gombo for six people. When the boiling water is added to the meat, let it simmer for at least two hours. Take the large bones from the pot, and add okra or a preparation of dried and pounded sassafras leaves, called filee. This makes the difference in gombo. For gombo for six people use one quart of sliced okra; if filee be used, put in a coffee-cupful. Either gives the smoothness so desirable inthis soup. Oysters, crabs, and shrimp may be added when in season, as all improve the gombo. Never strain gombo. Add green corn, tomatoes, etc., etc., if desired. Serve gombo with plain-boiled rice.
GOMBO WITH CRABS, OR SHRIMP
To a pound of beef add half a pound knuckle of ham; chop up both in inch pieces and fry them brown in two tablespoonfuls of boiling lard; add to them four large crabs cut up, or a pound of peeled shrimps, or both if desired; cut into this four dozen small okra pods, one large onion, a little red pepper, and salt to taste. Let all simmer on a slow fire for about twenty minutes; then fill up with warm water, enough to cover the contents two inches deep. Let this boil for two hours. If it becomes too thick, add as much water as required.
If preferred a chicken can be used instead of the beef.
SIMPLE OKRA GOMBO
Chop a pound of beef and half a pound of veal brisket into squares an inch thick; slice three dozen okra pods, one onion, a pod of red pepper, and fry all together. When brown pour in half a gallon of water; add more as it boils away. Serve with rice as usual.
OYSTER GOMBO WITH FILEE, NO. 1
Take a grown chicken, fifty oysters, and a half-pound of ham to flavor the gombo. Cut up two onions fine, fry them in lard and thicken the gravy with flour; a teaspoonful will be enough. Cut up the chicken and ham, and put them to fry with the onions. Let all cook gently till brown, then put in a pint of boiling water and boil the chicken until it is almost in pieces. Half-an-hour before dinner pour in the oysters and their liquor. When ready for the table take a large spoonful of fresh powdered sassafras leaves or filee, wet it with a little of the soup, and stir it into the soup. If not thick or ropy enough, stir in another spoonful. Do not let the soup boil after the filee is put in, but remove it from the fire, or serve it immediately.
GOMBO FILEE WITH OYSTERS, NO. 2
Fry a tablespoonful of flour in a tablespoonful of lard. Let it brown slowly so as not to scorch. Boil the liquor of two quarts of oysters, and when it is boiling throw in a cupful of cut leeks or onions, a large slice of ham, some parsley, and stir in the browned flour. Let this cook fifteen minutes; then pour in two quarts of oysters. Let them boil a few minutes, season with salt and pepper; take out the parsley and sift in half a cup of dried and pounded fresh filee; if not fresh more will be required.
CHICKEN GOMBO WITH OYSTERS
Take a young chicken, or the half of a grown one; cut it up, roll it in salt, pepper and flour, and fry it a nice brown, using lard or drippings, as if for fricassee. Cut up a quart of fresh green okras, and take out the chicken and fry the okra in the same lard. When well browned return the chicken to the pot and boil. Add to it a large slice of ham; a quarter of a pound will be about right for this gombo. Pour onto the chicken, ham and okra, half a gallon of boiling water, and let it boil down to three pints. Ten minutes before serving pour into the boiling soup two dozen fine oysters with half a pint of their liquor. Let it come to a good boil, and serve it with well-boiled rice.
MAIGRE OYSTER GOMBO
Take 100 oysters with their juice, and one large onion; slice the onion into hot lard and fry it brown, adding when brown a tablespoonful of flour and red pepper. When thick enough pour in the oysters. Boil together twenty minutes. Stir in a large spoonful of butter and one or two tablespoonfuls of filee, then take the soup from the fire and serve with rice.
MAIGRE SHRIMP GOMBO FOR LENT
Boil a pint of shrimps in a quart of water; give them only one boil up; then set them to drain and cool, reserving the water they were boiled in. Chop up three dozen okra pods, two onions, a pod of pepper, and a little parsley, and fry them brown in a little lard or butter; add to the okra the shrimps and the strained water in which they were boiled. Let all boil for an hour, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
When shrimp and crabs can not be procured, half a pound of dry codfish, soaked an hour or two, and chopped fine, will do very well. All gombo should be thickened with a little flour--browned if preferred--and stirred in just before adding the water; then boil an hour.
CRAB GOMBO, WITH OKRA
Take six large crabs, throw them in cold water for a few moments. When cool cut off the limbs--while they are living if possible, as this renders them more delicate; clean them, and put them to fry, shells and all, in a pot containing a cup of lard, a cup of cut onions, a small bunch of parsley, and two tablespoonfuls of browned flour. Let them cook about fifteen minutes, and then pour on them two pints of boiling water and a quart of sliced okra; let it all stew gently for half an hour, and add a slice of lean ham and a quart of good veal or beef stock (made by boiling two pounds of veal or beef in two quarts of water until reduced to a quart); season with a teaspoonful of salt, and same of black and red pepper, and let all boil for half an hour. This soup can be made in the oyster season by putting in a quart of oysters and two quarts of their liquor instead of the boiled beef stock.
CRAYFISH BISQUE. A CREOLE DISH
Parboil the fish, pick out the meat, and mince or pound it in a mortar until very fine; it will require about fifty crayfish. Add to the fish one-third the quantity of bread soaked in milk, and a quarter of a pound of butter, also salt to taste, a bunch of thyme, two leaves of sage, a small piece of garlic and a chopped onion. Mix all well and cook ten minutes, stirring all the time to keep it from growing hard. Clean the heads of the fish, throw them in strong salt and water for a few minutes and then drain them. Fill each one with the above stuffing, flour them, and fry a light brown. Set a clean stewpan over a slow fire, put into it three spoonfuls of lard or butter, a slice of ham or bacon, two onions chopped fine; dredge over it enough flour to absorb the grease, then add a pint and a half of boiling water, or better still, plain beef stock. Season this with a bunch of thyme, a bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook slowly for half an hour, then put the heads of the crayfish in and let them boil fifteen minutes. Serve rice with it.
FRICASSEE OF FISH
All large fish make nice fricassee. Cut the fish into slices and lay it in a gravy made of fried onions, parsley, tomatoes and a little garlic; fry in butter and serve. Add catsup if liked.
TO FRY FISH
The fat from bacon, or salt pork, is much nicer to fry fish in, than lard. After the fish is cleaned, wash it and wipe it dry, and let it lie on a cloth till all the moisture is absorbed; then roll it in flour. No salt is required if fried in bacon or pork fat. There must be fat enough to float the fish or they will not fry nicely, but instead soak fat and be soft to the touch.
TO STUFF AND BAKE FISH
Choose any of the many dressings in this book. Take either plain bread stuffing, veal stuffing, or force-meat; fill the fish and sew it up; put a teacup of water in the baking pan, with a spoonful of butter and bake, according to the size of the fish, from thirty minutes to an hour. Season with pepper and salt and bake brown.
CROAKERS AND MULLETS FRIED
Have them perfectly cleaned; trim the fins, wipe the fish with a clean cloth, salt and pepper each one, and roll it in flour or fine corn meal, and then drop it into a pot of boiling lard and bacon grease mixed. When brown, pile up on a hot dish and serve, with any desired sauce or catsup
FILLETS OR SLICED FISH, FRIED
When the fish is too large to fry whole, cut into slices and place them in a crock; season with pepper, salt, oil, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Turn the fish in this mixture so that all parts may become well saturated with the seasoning. When wanted, drain, wipe dry and dip each piece separately in flour; drop into boiling lard; take it up as it browns, and ornament the dish with a border of fried parsley. Send to table with sauce to suit the taste.
TROUT STUFFED AND BAKED
Stuff one or more fish, with any stuffing desired; score them well and put in a buttered pan to bake; season with pepper, salt and chopped parsley, moisten them with a little essence of mushrooms or catsup and butter. Baste every five minutes until they are done; remove the fish to a hot dish. Throw a little wine or vinegar into the pan, and stir it to detach the crust from the pan; boil this sauce down, add a little more butter and pour over the fish. Mushrooms are an improvement to the sauce; but if not convenient, tomato sauce will answer.
TROUT A LA VENITIENNE