THEY HAD LEFTOVERS, TOO

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 added leftover goose gravy and wet the edge of the chewit with a beaten egg so the lid would stick.

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.

Having read somewhere about wrapping parchment paper around chewits, I decided to try it on the nice tall ones. Then off to the fireplace with the whole lot, and into the bake kettle.

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!!

Sandie

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!

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

2 thoughts on “THEY HAD LEFTOVERS, TOO

  1. I do not understand why you said that you varies from 18th century cooking. I believe that they used up every bit of food they had in many various ways. Have you ever taken left over stuffing and added turkey or chicken to it then fry it off in a little oil.—–most soups are leftovers, as are stews. Hash is aleft over. I think they may have not written down these receipts, just used their imagination, as we do today.

  2. You are correct of course, I was refering to the fact that I really did not make Chewits. I’m sure even cavemen had leftovers. I’m glad we got the site working again. Have a Merry Christmas, and thank you for the comment.