Remembering George and Martha Washington
The First Ladies Cook Book
He had been born and raised in the social world of eighteen century Virginia where hospitality was a fine art.
Martha Washington was trained in childhood by her mother to know about such things as how to handle servantsand how to entertain and feed numbers of guests, in addition to learning the arts of dancing, playing cards, and doing needlework. She was taught these things rather than more cultural and learned studies because these were things she would have to know as mistress of a Virginia plantation.
This is one of the favorites recipes of the first President in Mount Vernon
Beefsteak and kidney pie
4 small veal or baby beef kidneys
1 1/2 pounds rump or round steak (to be cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 cup claret or other dry red wine
2 onions (1 sliced, 1 diced)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped celery (including tender leafy tops)
1 cup sliced mushrooms suet or bacon dirppings
Flour, for dredging and thickkening
1 pint hot water salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon marjoram pastry of puff-paste, pie crust, or biscuit dough (to cover casserole)
Separate the kidneys wiht a shar knife, discarding all gristly portions and fat. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with caret, add bay leaves, sliced onion, pepper. Let it marinate 2 hours.
Pound the steak with flour, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Brown suet or heat bacon drippings in iron skillet. then add diced onion and cook until clear; remove onion from skillet.
Over medium heat, brown steak well. Next drain the kidneys, reserving the marinade; dredge with flour, and brown, stirring carefully. Add 1 pint or less of hot water, stir well add chopped celery and parsley and marjoram.
Mix all well, and transfer to the casserole from which you intend to serve the pie. Strain into the marinade. Cover with a tight lid, and bake at 325 grades F for about 1 hour.
Remove from oven. Brown the mushrooms in bacon drippings, and if they need thickening, thicken with flour mixed in cold water and stirred carefully to avoid lumps. Add the mushrooms to the casserole mixture. Cover with a crust of puff-paste, pie crust, or biscuit dough, and return to 400 F oven, and bake until brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve at once.