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In 1722 Edward Kidder published his cookery book, called “The Receipts of Pastry and Cookery”. At this time he was already teaching the techniques of cookery in his school  in London and to wealthy ladies in their own homes.

His receipt for A brown Fricassee of Chicken or Rabbit, was going to be my number two Rabbit receipt.  As you  know I was not happy with the first one. After reading this receipt, I decided to alter it to my taste. Instead of white wine I would use sherry, and, because we have enough rabbit tenders to eat, I would eliminate the ‘Shiver’d Pallats’ (sliced cooked beef) and savory balls. Yes, this will change the taste somewhat, however I’m not feeding an army just the two of us. And I do want to have the flavor of the rabbit to really be the highlight of the dish.

One of the treats growing up  was to bake potatoes in the fireplace. They were wrapped in foil and everyone took turns rolling them around so the sides baked evenly. We did this every week. And ate them by the fire while we watched Lawrence Welk, Ed Sullivan Show or Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.  Once we even watched my sister Phyllis sing and duke it out with another contestant. My sister came in second.

I haven’t done potatoes like this in a long time so with a brisk fire going and coals ready, Allan made a nice pile of them in the corner and I put the foil wrapped-potatoes on the coals.  Okay, back to  Kidder.

Earlier in the week I took out all the packages of chicken gizzards, and backs I had cut from Cornish hens and  tossed in the freezer.  They come in handy when you need a quick gravy. I put them in a pot with some chicken broth, onion, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper then simmered them (with the exception of the liver). This cooked for about 45 minutes then I strained it  I then made a roux and added it to the broth and I had a nice gravy ready for the Rabbit Fricassee .

In the afternoon, I took out from the freezer, the French rolls that I had made the week before. I put four on them in a dish covered with a cloth and let them defrost. When they were beginning to warm I dampened the cloth and put them in a warm place to rise. I must say I was surprised how much they rose, and I was really happy with the results. When the potatoes began to get soft, I brushed the tops with butter and started them in a bake kettle.

I floured the rabbit tenders, and sautéed them in  browned butter in the skillet. When they had a nice color, I removed them to a plate to keep warm. I poured a little broth into the pan to deglaze it than added  more butter, the  leeks, mushroom, thyme, garlic and parsley. I let this all cook over the heat until the mushrooms and leeks were soft. While the pan was hot I added the sherry and burned off the alcohol, the taste would remain in the sauce. The gravy and some chicken broth went in next and then another lump of floured butter to thicken it up.  After I mixed this about, I squeezed a little lemon juice on it.Allan poked the potatoes and they were ready. The beans were al dente, the way we like them, and the rolls a wonderful golden hue. The rabbit was cooked to perfection.

Well, I did not hold true to Kidder’s receipt. However, I think the beef and savory balls would have perhaps added a  overwhelming flavor to the delicate rabbit. I likes this dish and will make it again.

Coming up: Savory and Sweet Workshop blog. Stay tune.


“You cook good rabbit, pilgrim.” from the film Jeremiah Johnson (1972)


Pastry and Cookery  1722


Pigeon Pear

When the ALHFAM New England Regional organization called for Foodways Programs for the Old Sturbridge Village conference in March 2013, I sent in a proposal. I knew I wanted to do something different, and different it would be. The title was called “They Ate That!” Pigeon Pear, Boiled Cods, Head and yummy minced Pie of Tongue,” a look at foods we don’t see on the menu today. This would be a workshop that explored some unexpected and shunned foods by today’s standards. My proposal was accepted and during the next few weeks I will post the results of our hearth cooking adventure at the ALHFAM regional conference. My first task was to find the best receipts for the three dishes. Edward Kidder was the inspiration for the Pigeon Pear. His receipt was novel and one of the few I have come across that uses a bladder. Edward Kidder was born in 1667 in Canterbury, England, and became a master pastry chef. He moved to London where the men of great power lived and worked. These lawyers and aldermen entertained in lavish style, and became his patrons. Kidder did more that sweets, he made robust food for large scale banquets and intimate dinner parties. In 1740, he wrote his receipts down in a beautifully illustrated book with elegant copper engravings of colored still-life with food, drinks and urns of flowers. Our team for the Pigeon Pear receipt was Faith, Beth and Susan. After reading the receipt through, they each took a task and started out. Gizzards were boiled, bread was toasted, spinach was blanched, gravy made and forced meat and a stuffing put together. With everything ready, Beth wraps the bird in bacon and stuffs the bladder with the forced meat stuffed, Cornish hen.

beth and stuf  3fBeth puts the filled bladder into a simmering pot of water. After an hour it was taken out. Our proud cooks really enjoyed the experience.

bladder water and 3 After the bladder cooled off, I cut the ties and the bladder in an attempt to save it for use on a crock. Unfortunately, it had too much food stuff stuck to it so I abandoned that idea. Then it was time to turn over to the chefs the cutting and serving of the Cornish Pear. girls cuttingDue to time restraints, we did not get to finish the hen. It still needed to be browned by the fire to crisp the bacon. I have posted a picture of one that I did previously. However, the cooks produced a delicious, tender and moist chicken. We ended sharing our feast with other workshop participants. A job well done and enjoyed, thanks to three remarkable ladies who came to cook. chic brown Happy cooking! Sandie