Saturday Night TreatsPosted: January 15, 2011
Since the weather’s been so nasty and cold almost every where, I thought I’d bring out some cold weather recipes from Iowa and Nebraska where I grew up. I grew up in blustery weather and was no stranger to blizzards.
These are some heritages soups that my mother and some of her friends collected to produce a recipe book fundraiser for the General Dodge House in Council Bluffs, Iowa. My mom was chair of the fund drive to restore Union Civil War General Grenville Melon Dodge’s House. She served as chairman of the Board of Trustees and President of the nonprofit museum for many years. The recipe book was dedicated to my mom’s best friend–Bea Utley–an interior decorator that helped tremendously with the restoration of the house. Actually, they were called receipts back then so this is a from a Receipt Book.
Their fund raising arm was and still is called the “General’s Ladies” and they’d do Victorian Christmas and summer picnics and all kinds of things to get funds to keep and get the property in order. I haven’t been then in years but I was practically brought up in the place. I used to talk to a ghost in one of the bedrooms when I was a kid and my first job at the ripe old age of 14 was as a docent there.
I got rather used to wearing Victorian clothes in the process. During Christmas, my mother made me play Christmas Carols in the ball room or she’d have me bring my guitar and best friend to sing carols through out the house. My other best friend played the Harp. Most of us wound up as docents on Sunday during our high school years. I remember when mom was trying to round up some of the old antiques and furniture before it was completely restored. I pretty much became familiar with the attics and basements of many old houses. It must’ve made an impression on me because I have a deep and lasting affection for America’s historic houses. My current house was built around the same time as the General’s Home. If you’re every on interstate I-80, on the extreme western edge of Iowa, you should make a point of visiting. It’s considered a premier Victorian restoration.
Oh, and we tested all the recipes too.
German Dumpling Soup:
4 or 5 pound fat stewing hen
4 cups carrots, cut up
3 cups potatoes, cut up
2 cups, celery, cut up
1 cup onion, cut up
1/2 cup chopped parsley, held back until just before serving
In a large kettle, cover hen with water, cover with a lid then boil one hour or longer, until tender. Add vegetables in the order listed above. After the vegetables are cooked, remove the whole chicken, bone it, cut it up and place it back with the vegetables and broth.
To make the Dumplings:
4 cups flour
1 tsp. Salt
Yellow food coloring
Add enough boiling water to flour to make a paste. Add a few drops of the yellow food color to the water. Break eggs into the paste one at a time and stir until well blended. Add more flour until the dough because very, very firm and dry. Use a teaspoon to cut off the dough and drop into the boiling soup when the chicken and vegetables have been prepared as above. Dip the spoon in the boiling water to release the dough. These dumplings are hard and firm.
Cover and boil 10 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley into the soup right before serving.
This recipe came from General’s Lady Mrs. Harold W. Schultz and came with this sage Victorian Advice:
Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.
Dutch Split Pea Soup
2 lbs. split green peas
4 sticks celery, chopped
2 pig’s hocks
12 ounces fresh pork sausage
1 lb onions, chopped
1 1b. smoked bacon in a whole piece or bacon squares
Pepper, salt to taste
Clean peas. Soak overnight in water.
Bring peas to a boil with the vegetables in 4 1/2 quarts fresh water. Add the hocks and bacon. Let simmer slowly until hocks are tender–two or three hours, stirring often. Pot should be covered.
One half hour before the soup is done, add fresh sausage in lumps the size of small walnuts.
Before serving, remove hocks and bacon from soup. Cut meat from the hocks into small pieces and return to soup. Season with the salt and pepper to taste., slice bacon to serve with the soup.
Makes about 12 servings.
This recipe came from Mrs. J Frederic Schlott. Fred Schlott was the architect that was responsible for the park around the outside of the house and sat on the board with mom for a long time. Almost, all the original people that dealt with the house have passed now so I’m not sure what goes on there any more. If you ask me, there’s probably a few more ghosts in that house than the one that I used to talk to in the gold bedroom as a kid. Some of these people spent a good portion of their life leaving the community this historic house museum.