A Thyme to Discover (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017), by Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves dives inside recipe favorites from Presidents, first settlers, and Native Americans. Cohen and Graves share unique recipes with historical flare. Find a recipe and see if you can cook like they used to, with the exception of a grocery store. This excerpt is located in “1700 to 1790s: Building Our Nation.”
Thank you, Arthur
Arthur Guinness began brewing his stout in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland, and was soon selling it by the barrel in 1778. As the business was passed down through the family, techniques and consistency were perfected, shipments were reaching as far as New Zealand, and in 1821 exact instructions for a superior porter were recorded, not too far from the Guinness Original and Guinness Extra Stout that we drink today. The first shipment to the colonies was sent in 1817 to South Carolina. It was the death of Prince Albert in 1861 that inspired a London bar to serve a Black Velvet in mourning for the Prince—combining Guinness Extra Stout with Champagne to represent the dark cloud hovering about England.
Arthur signed a nine-thousand-year lease on his first brewery.
• 2 lb ground lamb meat
• 2 Tbsp water
• 2 tsp salt, divided
• 1 tsp pepper, divided
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 7 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
• 2 cups onion, chopped (we used sweet onions)
• 1-1/2 cups oyster mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
• 1 small turnip, about 1 cup
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup Guinness
• 1 cup beef stock
• 2 Tbsp flour
• 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• 3 sprigs thyme, stems removed and discarded
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 1 quart chicken stock
• 2-1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (we used a combination of russet and white sweet potatoes)
• 1/2 cup cream
• 1 egg yolk, large
• 2 Tbsp chives
1. Combine lamb meat, water, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and baking soda in a bowl (it is best to use your hands to mix the ingredients). Set aside until ready.
2. In a large cast-iron skillet (we used a 12-inch pan), heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, remaining 1 tsp salt, remaining 1/2 tsp pepper, and turnips. Cook until soft and the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the Guinness, and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock, and heat liquid until it reduces by half.
3. In a small bowl, combine the flour and 2 Tbsp melted butter. Slowly incorporate into the Guinness liquid. Add the Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaves, and carrots. Stir.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the lamb meat. Use the back of a wooden spoon to break apart the meat. Cover the pan for 10 minutes until the meat is cooked. Remove the cover and the bay leaf. Stir, and drop the heat to low to simmer.
5. Set the oven to 375 degrees. In a stockpot, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until a fork can be easily inserted. Drain thoroughly, and add the potatoes back to the pan.
6. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 Tbsp cooled melted butter, cream, egg yolk, and chives. Incorporate the butter mixture with the potatoes using whatever technique you like—we used an emulsion blender. Do not over-mix as the potatoes can get gummy.
7. Add the potatoes to the top of your lamb mixture by piping it out using a plastic bag, with a corner cut out. This technique makes the process easier and presentation nicer, compared to simply plopping the potatoes on top. Use a knife to evenly spread the piped potatoes over the top. Take a fork and draw in wavy lines for presentation.
8. Using both hands (this will be heavy), place the pan on top of a rimmed baking sheet to prevent spillage. Cook in the oven until brown, about 15 minutes.
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Reprinted with Permission from A Thyme to Discover: Early American Recipes for the Modern Table by Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves and Published from Skyhorse Publishing.