Most families were served the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving and made turkey sandwiches, soup and other meals with the leftovers. We cooked an 11-pound goose for three people so we, too, had leftovers. Several days later, I was going through the freezer I found an assortment of puff pastry dough balls that must have been left over from some other baking day. The refrigerator came up with mushrooms, candied orange peels, chestnuts that I had boiled and peeled, whole cranberries, squash, part of a parsnip, and, of course, goose with gravy. The cupboard had the spices and I wanted to incorporate all of this for dinner.
Robert May, “THE ACCOMPLISH COOK, “came to mind and I thought why not try a chewit. Chewits are small, handheld pies. He uses a stiff paste of flour, butter and eggs so the chewits will stand high. This is the same receipt I use for my coffins. Having leftover puff pastry, I decided I’d use that and see what the results would be. I gathered all the ingredients on my cutting board.
The dough was frozen so I put it in a plastic bag and then into some warm water to thaw out. Okay! We are straying a bit from the 18th Century, however, this is leftovers, and I need to clean out the fridge and freezer. While the dough thawed, I cut up the goose meat, chestnuts, mushrooms, and grated the spices.
Next I started pinching the dough to make a bowl shape with high sides. Then I mixed the goose with the cut mushrooms and chestnut mixture and added the cranberries and orange peels.
The chewits need a lid, so I rolled small dough balls and then stretched them to fit. In went the filling.
I pinched the edges together and rolled them in and pinched again to seal in the mixture. I must have had two differently-made puff pastries as only two of the chewits came out nice and high.
I took the squash and parsnip that were left over and put those by the fire with a bit of water first, then oil and spices, for a side dish. Every 15 minutes I turned the covered bake kettle for a more even heat.
Now several interesting things happened. Not surprisingly the chewits without the parchment paper spread out, puffed and browned as expected. The papered ones were tall and not browned on the sides yet not raw dough either. I only put gravy in the non-papered ones, so this might be a reason they were not as high. I think I should have papered those instead. We only ate two of them and I must say they were tasty leftovers. And the other two were sent to my daughter’s house for her lunch.
All in all, it was an experiment using leftovers as they did in Robert Mays’ time and using what I had on hand. Next year I will do them again and will use the stiffer crust and bake them in a bake oven.
Hope all your leftovers were delicious!!
PS. The next blog I promise to keep with the 18th Century way of the colonial table. However sometimes a cook just has to have fun!