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Posts tagged ‘historic cooking’

Saucy Series XIII: Mushroom Ketchup

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Mushroom Ketchup

Heston Blumenthal is a wonderful character. He appeals to me because he loves to play with food and to study ancient recipes to find inspiration for his dishes. His new restaurant, Dinner, in London is a smashing success with dishes that have a pedigree. One of his most popular historical recipes is one for mushroom ketchup.

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Mushroom ketchup has been made for hundreds of years –– you could call it the English version of soy sauce. It’s salty, positively exploding with umami and is an awesome addition to any meat dish, but can also add a wholly vegetarian meaty depth to a vegetable dish as well.

I’ve seen mushroom ketchup mentioned in recipes for years and always wanted to make it. In looking up mushroom ketchup recipes (my 1846 recipe from The Complete Cook was vague about the ratio of salt to mushrooms and I wanted guidance on that score), the more I searched, the more Heston’s name kept showing up.

Although Heston had a simple 18th century recipe for his base authentic mushroom ketchup, I really fell for a slightly more involved recipe from the 19th century that’s full of pepper –– I love pepper. Honestly, it is very little work but a 48 hour soak. Heston’s recipe is only an overnight drip. You will get somewhere around 2 cups of mushroom ketchup out of my recipe –– I did not make his version but in the video of the process, it appeared to generate about the same amount. You can store it forever in the fridge and even use the leftover mushrooms from the process to make a great mushroom pepper (after a wee dry in the oven). I’ll give you both so you can choose. Do buy the freshest mushrooms that you can. Old mushrooms have lost their liquid and will make for much less ketchup. DO NOT buy sliced mushrooms for the same reason –– they will have lost moisture with the cutting. I halved the recipe but it is easily doubled.

Dinner menu

At his London restaurant, Dinner, all his beef dishes are served with mushroom ketchup, but when I see the pictures of the mixture I am confused because the sauce I see is thick and glossy and mushroom ketchup is the texture of soy or Worcestershire sauces. Big surprise, Heston played with the texture –– he likes to play with food. Authentic mushroom ketchup has the same texture as soy sauce –– Heston makes mushroom ketchup plus.

Taking my cue from Heston, I deployed my sauce series partner D’Artagnan’s magnificent pasture-raised boneless strip sirloin steaks as a perfect medium for my mushroom ketchup. The meat was splendid –– so tender and full of flavor. History tastes great.

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Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Ketchup for 2

2 boneless strip sirloin steaks from D’Artagnan
light salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
Heston’s Mushroom Ketchup Sauce

Salt and pepper the steak. Don’t use much salt because the ketchup is salty. Heat a cast-iron skillet till quite hot. Add olive oil to the pan and put the steaks in the pan. Brown each side. The steak will be rare at this point. Cook longer for more doneness. Let rest a few minutes before serving with the mushroom ketchup.

Heston’s Mushroom Ketchup Sauce

2 oz red wine
1 oz red wine vinegar
1 small chopped shallot
pinch of cloves and mace ( I think pepper would be good too if you are not using my recipe for the mushroom ketchup base)
1 c mushroom ketchup (use Heston’s or the recipe from The Complete Cook – recipes follow)*
2 t cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 T cold water
drained, marinated mushrooms (recipe follows)

Reduce by 1/2 (his recipe called for 2/3rds reduction and I thought that was too much) and strain out the shallots – you will have a little over 1/2 a cup. Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot mixture and return to a low heat for a few minutes. Stir till thickened and remove from the heat. Add the marinated mushrooms and serve with the steak. Depending on the amount of marinade the mushrooms have soaked up, you may want to toss a bit of the mushroom marinade into the ketchup to your taste – I liked the little extra sweetness that it added.

*mushroom ketchup is thin, Heston’s recipe is a thick sauce made from the ketchup

Marinated Mushrooms

5 oz red wine vinegar
1/4 c sugar
4 oz mushrooms, sliced

Heat the vinegar and sugar to melt the sugar. Pour over the mushrooms and marinate for 24 hours.

Heston’s Recipe for Mushroom Ketchup

(used as base for the sauce, from an 18th c recipe)

1 3/4 lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 1/3 oz salt

Combine the salt and the mushrooms. Enclose in fabric (old t-shirt maybe?) and twist cloth and hang over a pot for 24 hours. Squeeze tightly to extract as much liquid as possible.

Mushroom Ketchup from The Complete Cook

1 3/4 lb mushrooms, pulsed a few times in a food processor or roughly chopped immediately before using
2 oz salt in the original recipe or about 3 T (I think 2T might be better — it’s very salty)
1 oz black peppercorns
1/2 oz allspice berries
1 T brandy

Put the mushrooms and salt in a glass or ceramic bowl and blend well. Let them sit for 2 hours and then stir and cover. Leave for 2 days, stirring a few times a day.

Put into a canning jar with the spices and screw the lid on, you should have around a quart.

Put in a stockpot and bring the water to a low boil (I put a wad of foil at the bottom so the glass wouldn’t touch the metal) for 2 hours. Strain the liquid into another pan using a fine sieve pressing hard on the solids. I finished up the process with a potato ricer that got every last bit of juice out of the mushrooms, but putting them in a cloth and squeezing would work well. Reserve the mushroom pieces that remain from the pressing.

At this point Sanderson recommends reducing the ketchup by half. If you are using it for the Blumenthal ketchup skip this step as the ratio of ketchup to his wine/vinegar mix will be off. Do cool the mixture and add the brandy. Put it in a canning jar. You should have 2 cups unreduced and 1 cup reduced. It is quite salty.

Preheat your oven to 200º, Spread the pepper mushroom mixture on the pan, remove the larger allspice berries and dry for 1 hour or until dried out. Put in a spice grinder and grind. Use as a wonderful mushroom flavored pepper in all your dishes.

Saucy Series XI: Sauce Romaine

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Romaine

In researching for my Sauce Series, I have tried to cover all the classic mother sauces and their permutations but I also find it interesting to present some bygone relics that have fallen from grace and are forgotten.

I came across a beauty in my wonderful book Le Repertoire De La Cuisine (that I told you about HERE) called Sauce Romaine made with caramel, vinegar, reduced stock and pignoli nuts with raisins. It is a member of the sweet and sour family of sauces with ancient roots. One version was made with demi-glace and another with Espagnole (one of the mother sauces). I believe the inspiration for it may be very old. Raymonia is a medieval dish based on the Arabic Rummaniya with a sauce of pomegranate, ground almonds and sugar –– an ancient agrodolce (an Arabic-influenced Sicilian sweet and sour sauce still popular today that’s like a gastrique). Not much of a stretch to go to the raisins and pine nuts of Sauce Romaine. After a 1000-odd years, this family of sauces is still divine with grilled poultry, game birds or pork or, as luck would have it, a small boar roast from D’Artagnan. It’s also fat free, full of flavor and actually good for you with all that lovely reduced stock.

Romaine 1

Wild Boar Roast with Sauce Romaine

1 D’Artagnan small boar roast or a pork roast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
Brussel sprouts, sliced (optional)
2 t chopped fresh herbs (sage or thyme would be nice)
Sauce Romaine

Preheat the oven to 375º. Toss the vegetables in some of the oil and put it in the bottom of a small heavy pan. Oil the roast and rub with salt and pepper and herbs. Put the roast on top of the vegetables and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the inner temperature is 140º.

It comes with a string covering which you should remove but it will spread. It is better to tie it up so the roast cooks properly (so some bits don’t get overdone).

Tent the meat and rest for 10 minutes. Place the vegetables on the platter and slice the roast. Pour any juices that have collected from the roast into the sauce and stir them in. Spoon the sauce over the roast and serve warm or room temperature.

Romaine 2

Sauce Romaine

2 T sugar
1/2 c vinegar
1 c demi-glace from D’Artagnan
2 T Sauce Espagnole (optional)
1/2 c white raisins
1/4 c pignoli nuts

Melt the sugar gently in a heavy pan. When it melts and browns remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Reduce it to a thin syrupy consistency. Add the demi-glace and raisins and reduce somewhat.

The sauce will thicken on its own as it cools – the raisins will also soak up some of the sauce so don’t go nuts reducing it. Serve it warm or at room temperature

A Saucy Conversation with Deana

“Sauces are the splendor and the glory of French cooking” ~ Julia Child

March is National Sauce Month. And so … let’s talk about sauces!!

We will glory in any sauce. Sriracha. Marinara. Fra Diavolo. Bechamel. Bourbon barbecue sauce. Tartar. Chimichurri. Mole. We believe there should be sauce on everything. But when it comes to sauces, the mother lode is in French cuisine.

To round out our Saucy Series we will post one sauce a week during National Sauce Month.  So come along for the ride!

Our saucier for this project is blogger and historic food explorer Deana Sidney, who can generally be found at her blog Lost Past Remembered.

Before we get started, we thought it was time to introduce you to Deana.

Deana

Deana Sidney

Deana, can you tell us how you got started on this food journey? What drew you to ancient recipes in the first place?

I first fell for ancient food in college when I was studying English and Italian literature –– I wanted to taste the past. Instead of learning how to cook with Joy of Cooking like a sane person, I began with Forme of Cury, a 15th century English cookbook. My earliest attempts were ghastly –– slowly but surely I got better, and so did the food. Now I love the exuberant spicing and lavishness. It takes you away to another time.

Sauce Financiere 2

Duck Breast with Sauce Financiére

How long have you been writing your blog at Lost Past Remembered?

I started the blog 4 years ago and have had the best time doing it. I have met so many incredible people; I’m working on book proposals, am getting my first article published and shot the cover of the magazine. I’ve gone to the Oxford Food Symposium for the last few years and hobnobbed with all the food history wizards –– it’s been a gas and terribly liberating. No producers/directors leaning over your shoulder telling you what you can and can’t do!

It’s an incredibly detailed account of your cooking adventures in a day when big pictures and few words seem to be the name of the game. Reading your blog is downright educational – and not just about food. So how do you research your topics?

I basically read everything I can get my hands on. Some posts are more extensively researched than others. I especially enjoy writing about houses, the lives that have been lived in them and how they ate. In a way, it combines my favorite part of production design, food history and decoration. I spend a bit of time in the summer in England and the National Trust has been kind enough to help me visit many of the great English houses. I love their stories. In the end, it’s about telling great stories with great pictures.

osterley counter

A counter in the vast kitchen at Osterley Park, a great estate in England.

Have you had many disappointments in the kitchen? It seems like you introduce a complex recipe and then breezily recommend it as “easier than it looks, I promise you!” Have you had disasters?

Disasters? Oh yes, don’t we all? In the recipes, if I say it’s easier than it looks, it really is. Mostly it’s just the time it takes that seems daunting. Most disasters for me happen when pastry is involved –– not my strong suit– or if I try to rush or lose focus. I’ve been lucky lately though. I try to go through the old recipes methodically and take my time since I often don’t have extra preparations should one fail. Luckily a recent tough crust I made was for me and not for the blog. I have no idea why it failed!

What have you learned in tackling these classic sauce recipes from the French canon?

The biggest thing? There really are just a few basic parts to almost all the great sauces — D’Artagnan’s fabulous demi-glace shows up in most of them. If you have frozen demi-glace and make up a batch of Sauce Espagnole (and keep that in your freezer in small bags) you can make many of the dark sauces in no time at all. One day’s work pays off extravagantly. The cream and egg sauces just need you to take care with the heat and stir them well (and strain if there are clotted bits!). You can have an elegant dinner in no time at all using all the fabulous D’Artagnan birds and meats with the sauces – just like a 4 star French restaurant. Many of them take no time at all –– REALLY!

Which sauce recipe was your favorite?

That is almost impossible. I love the dark richness of Financiére with truffles and Madeira, but also am fond of the cream sauces (I have a great source for cream). Adding the egg to a sauce gives such richness from Hollandaise to Allemande.

Deana Sidney Venison with Chevreuil Sauce

Sauce Chevreuil is a brown sauce made with Espagnole, seen here over venison

What do you do when you’re not cooking? Tell us a little bit about your day job.

My other job is working as a production designer for films, TV and commercials. I specialize in character-driven work and love to construct a person’s environment so the actors feel at home there. It’s great fun, as much psychology as art. I am a sucker for objects that tell stories.

How has your food experience helped in your production design career?

Oh my, I have used it so much on small features (on larger ones I am not allowed to play with food). When I work with food stylists, they have 20 of something to shoot. I have gotten used to making do with much fewer on the blog. Now when I do film food scenes, I use all the tricks I have discovered shooting for the blog. It really is like play. Sadly, because of the lights, I can’t use some ingredients I would if it was for real. They would coagulate and look awful after a few takes. I think canned food is indestructible!

Do you have any memorable food stories from a movie set?

Well, one that’s appropriate is the D’Artagnan dinner I did for Molly’s Theory of Relativity. It was a labor-of-love project of a favorite director of mine. We had a very low budget but getting the D’Artagnan products for the shoot made all the difference – the dinner scene took up a lot of screen time.

Deana Set 2

Set photo from Molly’s Theory of Relativity

I was in a kitchen making duck ragout ravioli, duck breast with cherry sauce and foie gras. Since the scene took all day to film, we warned the actors not to eat too much but they couldn’t help themselves. The duck was so good they kept eating! After 30 takes they were getting rather full! Even a little boy on the set, whose mother said he didn’t eat anything, LOVED duck breast and ate a lot. The only disaster was the poor foie gras. Someone had accidently moved the pan to a burner that was on low so it got overcooked.

Deana Set Photo

Set photo of a young Einstein at the table from Molly’s Theory of Relativity

I did have to use soup and canned cherries to make the sauces so they would stay pretty. We put the duck on the platter and kept replacing the portions the actors were eating.

Deana Set 5

Deana’s movie set duck breast (Molly’s Theory of Relativity)

It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to follow along while Deana worked her way through these classic French sauces. If you want to catch up on her sauce posts, she’s got a category on our blog called Saucy Series. Bon appetit!

Saucy Series Part V: Sauce Robert

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Robert

Sauce Robert is one of the ancient sauces. Mentioned in literature and dating from at least the 15th century, it remained popular right through to the 19th century (although you can still buy bottled Sauce Robert, it is nothing like the original).

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La Varenne

The sauce is used brilliantly in the 17th century by the legendary cook La Varenne in a dish made with pork (you can read more about the history HERE.) This is no surprise since the sweet and sour oniony mustard sauce is a perfect accompaniment to pork.

Although the original was made with the whole loin, I decided that I would use D’Artagnan’s tenderloin for this recipe since I love the texture. Also, D’Artagnan’s Berkshire Pork has such a full flavor, unlike any supermarket tenderloin you are used to. It’s great pork, and the careful way it was raised can be tasted. Since it cooks quickly, a meal fit for a king can be ready in no time. Cooking the onions slowly is the longest step.

sauce robert 3

Pork Tenderloin with Sauce Robert, serves 4

2 pork tenderloins
1 T lard or butter
1 large onion chopped
2 T butter
½ t salt and ½ t pepper*
pinch ground cloves
¾ c verjuice ** + ¼ c white wine vinegar OR ½ c white wine and ½ c white wine vinegar
2 small bunches sage leaves
½ c demi-glace
2 T grainy mustard

1. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the onions and one of the sage bunches. Cook at low heat for about ½ an hour till soft and sweet, stirring regularly.

2. Preheat oven to 425º.

3. Put the lard or butter in the heated pan, salt and pepper the tenderloins, put in the skillet and brown the meat over high heat for a minute or two on each side. Put them in the oven for 10 -15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145º. Remove from the oven and tent while you finish the sauce.

4. Remove the sage, add the verjuice and vinegar and begin reducing over medium-low heat. Add the demi-glace and stir till you have a thick sauce. Pour any juices from the pan (after removing excess fat) and pour any accumulated juices from the plate into the sauce. Add the salt and pepper and cloves.

5. Taste for seasoning and then add the mustard. Serve with the sliced tenderloin garnished with the rest of the sage.

*originally long peppers and grains of paradise would be used…they are great so use them if you can get them.

** verjuice is vinegar-like but milder and absolutely delicious –– refrigerate after opening

A Saucy Series, Part II: Sauce Madame

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Madame

As part of my series on sauces, this goes to the top of the pack as an ancient ancestor of European sauces. Even ketchup owes a debt to this sauce, as does Sauce Espagnole.

This recipe for Sauce Madame is over 600 years old, and comes from the oldest cookbook in England – actually, it wasn’t even a book, it was a long scroll that a household scribe kept in the kitchen of Richard II that has come to be known as the Forme of Cury (cury comes from the French, Querie – the business of a cook –– not the spice). If you would like more of the history, visit my blog for the rest of the story.

Sauce Madame 2

Sauce Madame meets Rohan duck

The recipe is richly flavored, full of fruit and enriched with breadcrumbs and not flour, as was the style from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. The texture is smooth and elegant. I include a recipe for the sauce without galyntyne, if you want to skip the bread addition –– it was made that way as well.

Normally made with goose, I decided to use one of D’Artagnan’s Rohan ducks and the result is delicious. You could also make the stuffing separately (in a covered casserole with a tablespoon of duck fat and 1 cup of demi-glace cooked for ½ hour to 45 minutes till fruit is tender) and use it with duck breast or legs and thighs…it would be good with chicken as well. The sauce keeps well and you can make the poudre douce and galyntyne ahead of time. I froze some of the galyntyne to use later and it worked beautifully.

Duck in Sauce Madame (original recipe, with measurements interpreted)

1 duck (a Rohan duck ) 5 ½ to 6 pounds
2 T salt
3 c cored, peeled and roughly chopped pears and quinces or tart apples (if you use quince, chop small or steam for a few minutes to soften). I only had pureed quince that I had put up this year so added ½ a cup of that and ½ an apple for texture.
2 c grapes
5 cloves peeled garlic, cut in slices
branch of sage
1 c chopped parsley
2-3 sprigs fresh hyssop or thyme (or 2 t dry)
2-3 sprigs fresh savory (or 2 t dry)
½ to ¾ c juices from duck with some of the fat –– if there’s not enough add demi-glace
¼ c galyntyne (recipe below)
½ c red wine
2 t powdered or grated galingal to your taste (available in the Thai section of your market) or use powdered ginger
3 t poudre douce (recipe below) or to your taste

Preheat oven to 375º

Rub duck with salt inside and out.

Combine fruit, garlic and herbs and stuff the duck with it. Truss up the bird so the stuffing doesn’t leak out.

Put ½ an inch of water in a roasting pan and put the duck on a rack, breast side down. Turn the bird after ½ an hour so the breast side is up. Roast about 1½ hours total for a medium bird –– you will be keeping it warm so you don’t need to cook it to death (around 150º when measured at the thigh). Check the bird regularly and turn the pan in the oven every half hour or so. You may want to put foil around the legs so they don’t burn.

When the bird is done, remove the stuffing and tent the bird.  Put the juices in a heavy saucepan with the stuffing. Stir and allow the fruit mixture to cook a bit more; the fruit may not be softened enough and will improve with a bit of a cook. Add the galantine and wine and spices. Stir to combine.

While the mixture is cooking and after the bird has rested 10 minutes, carve the bird into serving pieces and keep warm in a 200º oven while you finish the sauce. Originally these would be speared with a knife and eaten with fingers. Pour the sauce over the duck and serve.

Poudre douce:

4 t powdered ginger
1 t cinnamon
1 t grains of paradise
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t sugar

Grind together.

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Deana’s galyntyne, a medieval recipe

Galyntyne

1/4 cup toasted bread crust, ground good pinch each of galingal, ginger, cinnamon
1 t salt
½ c wine vinegar (approximately)

Combine the breadcrumbs with the spices and salt. Add enough vinegar to make a thick sauce and set aside. You can push though a strainer if you want a finer texture.

Notes: I used about ¼ of the crust of a peasant loaf. I cut it off the bread and toasted it till medium brown (a toaster oven works well, but you can do it in the oven on a cookie sheet at 300º). Then I put it in the processor. To make it extra fine I put it in the spice grinder in batches to give it a fine texture. Then I toasted it in a skillet to get it a little browner –– don’t take your eyes off it when you are doing it. It goes from perfect to burnt quickly –– stir constantly.

Sauce Madame 3

Sauce Madame, sans bread

Sauce Madame sans Bread

Stuffing from bird
juices from duck with some of the fat (around a cup, about 2 T of that duck fat or to taste)
½ c demi-glace
½ c red wine
1 t powdered or grated galingal
2 t poudre douce

Cook the stuffing with the rest of the ingredients. Reduce till thickened somewhat and serve on the duck.