Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Fall Feast

This past Saturday I enjoyed a lovely fall day with some great friends at Bentonville Battlefield.   I spent most of the day in the kitchen, but oh how rewarding it was! The meal of the day was chicken, green beans & sweet potatoes. We also had fresh bread that  I had prepared earlier in the week.  While  I did not use recipes out of books for this meal, I did use my knowledge of period cookery, and what I had on hand.
The Chicken. 
Chicken all seasoned & ready to cook
Cooked chicken, sliced for eating
Since the program was about life on the homefront, I decided to not got with a fancy meal, but instead focus on what we had on hand. I took a whole hen, rubbed with some salt & a bit of butter and popped her in the pot, then surrounded it with small potatoes, a sliced onion and some fresh basil. The pot is filled about 2/3's up with water, then lidded and placed on the fire.  (Note: I put the chicken in breast down, to ensure it cooked all the way.) The chicken cooked for about 3 hours. Then was flipped over and cooked for about 20 more minutes. To ensure that the chicken is cooked all the way, cut into the breast near the bone, there should be no pink in the meat.

The Green Beans
Green beans have not changed in 150 years. Well, I don't think so anyway. The beans were fresh, and I snapped off the ends, and snapped the longer beans in pieces to make them smaller. They were placed in a pot of water with some salt and a piece of butter. They were the last thing I put on the fire as they did not take as long to cook.

The Sweet Potatoes 
The pots filled & cooking strong! 
Again, something that would have been on hand. The sweet potatoes are coming out of the fields in abundance, so I cooked up a few. Again, no recipe. I took 5 large potatoes, rubbed them with butter and placed them in a dutch oven to bake for about 2 hours.  They took so long because I had to keep opening the lid to show spectators that there was really food in the pots. 

A full plate
After lunch was done, we all enjoyed a great helping! The chicken was almost bones when everyone was done picking at it. The food was so good!   
It was a great day! Full of fun. I forgot how tiring it was to be bent over a fireplace all day scraping coals & getting temperatures just right. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow.

    That plate looks awesome!
    Roasting the chicken like that is s often overlooked.
    I especially like the " use what we have on hand ". Those turn out to be the best dinners!

    Got to love the cast iron!