When I saw that the 5th challenge for the Historical Food Fortnightly was all about roasts, I thought that it would be easy. It’s been our habit lately to make a roast on Sundays. Most of the time, we use an awesome flea market find – a Farberware 455n Open Hearth Broiler & Rotisserie Indoor Electric Grill. However, we have fallen out of the habit in the past couple of weeks… and I couldn’t decide on what to cook.
I was amused when I found recipes for baked potatoes in the old cookbooks. I was intrigued with recipes for coffee substitutes. But I ended up going with something that I knew we would like and something a little different just because.
I love the Savoring the Past website. Period food porn, yes. I ran across a post where they were making stuffing for a roasted chicken and thought it sounded delicious. Plus, they had redacted the stuffing recipe for me already so it should be easy, right?
This time, the recipe actually was! The only problem was that in my rush through the store at the end of a long day of work, I decided that stuffing mix would be easier than tearing up fresh bread. And I brought home a frozen chicken… So this challenge ended up being done a few days later than I had intended.
But enough with the exposition, let’s get cooking!
The Challenge: #5 Roasts
The Date/Year and Region: 1798, American
Time to Complete: The chicken was roasting for just under three hours. The stuffing recipe said it would take about an hour and a half but it was done (and a little dryer than I wanted) in about fifty minutes. It took a little bit to put all the ingredients together and grate the suet, so overall, the meal probably took three and a half to four hours.
Total Cost: The whole chicken was $9. The bread crumbs were about $2. Everything else, including the wine and suet, were already on hand.
How Did You Make It: Luckily, Amon had the day off when we decided to cook this. He got the chicken started before I got home. The recipe called for ‘sweet herbs’ and that was about it. Amon used granulated garlic, Italian herb blend, kosher salt, and because he has been enamored of it since he first used it in a period recipe, ground ginger. The chicken was put on the rotisserie and left to baste in its own juices.
When I got home, I got to work on the stuffing. I realized that my bread crumbs were only 12 ounces instead of the full pound for the recipe. I was quite happy when I figured out how to change the proportions of the other ingredients. Once the suet (one of many blocks we made quite a while ago) was grated, I threw all the ingredients together and let them sit for a while. I was hoping that the dried bread crumbs would soak up the liquid and become like regular bread. Yeah, no. Next time, we are definitely using real bread.
While the chicken was roasting and the stuffing was baking, we pulled out a more modern recipe for broccoli. Amon had been wanting to ‘roast’ broccoli for a while. I should have written down what he did, but all I can remember is olive oil, red wine vinegar, and tasty. Oh so tasty.
How Successful Was It?: This was a successful meal in my book. The chicken looked and tasted delicious. It had a little bit different texture than we normally get with a rotisserie chicken, but we also cooked it longer than normal. Good, though, and in no way dried out. It was very moist and the skin was delicious.
The stuffing started out a bit dry but by adding the chicken drippings to it, it was wonderful. Amon told me after he tasted it that he wouldn’t be sharing.
The broccoli was terrific and I think it will be joining our normal rotation of recipes.
How Acurate Is It?: …Fairly. It definitely isn’t a hundred percent accurate but I give us extra points for using a rotisserie. Granted, the rotisserie was electric, but still. I’m not sure on the seasonings, but it seems reasonable that something similar would have been used. The stuffing would have been more accurate had I used bread rather than dried out bread crumbs. We baked the stuffing rather than putting it in the bird, but we did dump the drippings from the chicken over the stuffing before serving.