Posted in From Scratch, Pork, Soups & Stews, The Hungry Hen, Uncategorized

Fancy Shmancy Sausage, Mushroom, & Tater Soup

 

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Fresh Sausage, Mushroom & Tater Soup – Gluten Free (also), The Crowin’ Hen.

With this one, you can use Fresh Country or Fresh Italian Sausage. I chose my Spicy Italian for this go-round but you go where your tummy leads you. If you don’t have FRESH, and can’t get your claws on any, then that’s a shame because I wish everyone could try fresh sausage. Don’t worry,. though. Just use your favourite brand of store-bought.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Ilbs Fresh Sausage (Italian or Country. I think some people call Country, Breakfast Sausage too.)
  • 3-quart jars Red Taters, diced.
  • 1 can of Condensed Milk
  • 1 Sweet Onion, diced
  • 1 Orange or Red Pepper, diced
  • 1 can of Spinach, drained, or 10 0z frozen–thawed and drained. You can also substitute Kale.
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1- 8 oz package Baby portabellas, sliced
  • Water or Chicken Broth or powdered Broth mix
  • Butter– 1/2 stick or less. REAL butter.
  • Garlic Powder (or crushed cloves), Salt and Pepper to taste.

 

Directions

  1. Fry your sausage. Crumbled. When done, remove from pan and drain either in a strainer or on napkins. DO NOT RINSE. You want to keep the seasoning and flavour of the Sausage.

  2. While that’s frying, or once its done, dice your taters. Now, you dice as big or small as you want. The reason we are using Red is so that you have that option. Red holds it’s shaped better and doesn’t turn into mash like russets have a tendency to do. If there is another tater like, Red, that you have, which will hold it’s shaped, substitute for that.

  3. Once you are done dicing, add them to a bowl full of water and squeeze the lemon juice in. Toss in the rest of the lemon if you’d like. And let them soak while you dice everything else up. This removes excess starch and the lemons keep the taters white.

  4. Once everything else (except sausage and spinach) is diced, add them and the drained taters to your pot. DO NOT saute your mushrooms and onions before hand. You want all that flavour in the stock you are about to make.

  5. Pour in the can of condensed milk and then enough water/broth to ALMOST cover the veggies. ALMOST. You don’t want to fill it all the way up. The veggies add juice, too. You want it to look about like this or slightly less.

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  1. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the taters are nice and tender.

img_1649.jpg7. Now, at this point, taste your broth. It should have a strong mushroom flavour. In fact, you may fall in love with that taste and decide not to add the spinach– which will sweeten it some. It’s a two-option meal, here.However, if you are going to add it, now is the time, along with your sausage. Also add your Garlic Powder, (or clove)m salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 15-25 minutes until the flavours are bloomed and all is hot.

Some notes….

Notice how I didn’t add a thickener to this? Don’t need one. As it cools, and because of the way we did the broth, it will thicken up on its own.

Also, optional, you can add some diced Green or Spring onion (Scallions) before serving. Some sprinkled cheese is good as well or eats it as is. I will warn you, though, even though there is no Gluten, this is a very fulfilling dish. Might make you lazy. May make you want to kick back in front of the woodstove and take a nap, lol. Or, it may give you the warmth you need, that stick to your bones kind of warmth so you can tackle a day outside in the cold weather.

 

 

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Posted in Back in the Day, Chicken Scratch, Hen Pecked, Hogs, Pork, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Hog Butcherin’ Time

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Across the scarcely covered mountains, an icy breeze brings a hint of a woodstove burnin’ from somewhere, where ya’ll know the folks are all toasty and warm. Inside, a there sits a hot cast iron, fresh sausage fryin’ or maybe a hearty sausage and tater soup simmers on the stove. Sure enough, bread or buttermilk biscuits are bakin’ in the oven. Its comfortin’ smell lingers through an entire household just anxiously waitin’. These things make the winter months worth sufferin’. I’m a Spring -hen myself. I like the grass between my toes. Love a river when the sun is warm. But even this chick has to admit, Some things just stir the soul durin’ the cold season and those things make it worth goin’ into. Hog butcherin’ might just be one of em.

I could probably live off the country sausage. Shoot, I ain’t never turned my nose up at Italian either. I love the way it smells when cookin’ and I love the way I feel after gobblin’ some up. We raised four hogs, this year. Two regular, mixed, Yorkshire and Tamworths. Maybe one was part Hereford. Then we tried out hand at two American Guinea Hogs. Those will hang up this weekend or next– dependin’ on the weather. Interested to know how those measure up…which will decide whether or not we raise em next year.

Still, for the past several weekends, my husband and Uncle have been knee deep in the butcher house. His hogs, my hogs, their hogs. It’s an age-long tradition that folks don’t do too much of anymore. Oh, they’ll buy one already raised or butchered up, but not many actually get in there and do it themselves from the little one too big. I know once I’ve butchered, it’s hard to keep em in the freezer. Folks wantin’ it, not to mention what we can easily eat ourselves. Bottom line, though, to me, it’s a clean meat. And by clean, I mean, I know what that hog ate from beginnin’ to end. I know it’s health as we were the one’s keepin’ it healthy. I know what’s in the seasoning of, the cookin’ of, the processin’ of. No preservatives. No big unpronounceable word-poisons. Just the meat. Clean. I can’t describe the deep satisfaction of that. When I serve it to my family, the deeply satisfied feelin’ that I am givin’ them somethin’ as healthy as I can possibly provide. Not to mention the lessons my children learn about traditions, about having a respect and responsibility, some control over their food.

Homesteaders — those who are coinin’ that phrase— are doin’ it and, most certainly, ones who live off grid. Whether you Cure the hams or cut pork chops or grind it all into sausage, though, there’s lots to be made and had from Hogs, which may be why some are jumpin’ in, on the whole, raisin’ them up again bandwagon.

Throughout this week–time permittin’– and possibly month–if time doesn’t turn out to e my friend, I’m going to post up recipes for pork and most likely, sausage. Hope you enjoy……

And if you are lookin’ for recipes in general, of what I already have, check out The Hungry Hen and all the categories within’!

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Posted in Beef, Canning & Preserving, Carnivore, Chicken, From Scratch, Other, Pork, Rabbit Recipes, Soups & Stews, Uncategorized, Wild Game, Guineafowl, Birds, etc.

How to Make Bone Broth/Stock

broth3Allot of flavor to this one, so beware. In fact, once you do taste how good this is, and how easy, you may never touch store-bought brands again. That being said, this is easily customize-able according to your personal tastes. So, I’m going to give you the basic 411 on how to make it, explain how you can adjust it, and then let you go from there. One thing is for certain, though– you won’t ever throw out bones again. Not until you’ve made this!

 


This can be made with ANY and EVERY kind of meat/bone out there. Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Beef, Rabbit, Deer (Venison), etc.


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Different scenarios….

Now, say, you haven’t cooked any meat yet. Say, you are wanting to make something like Chicken Soup or a Cream of Chicken Soup. (I have a great Cream of Chicken, Mushroom and Kale Soup Recipe made with Bone Stock I’m about to post!). Put a whole chicken in a pot of water– I usually put enough water in to cover the bird– and cook until meat is tender enough to pull off of the bone. Pull the chicken out, let it cool enough to work with– pull meat off. Put the meat to the side. Put the bones (and DON’T worry if there is still some meat left on them) on a pan and stick in the oven under the Broiler. Brown. Flip and Brown.


Why are we browning them? Flavor. To Brown is to Flavor. Memorize that.


Once the Bones are brown, add them back to the pot, add more water if need be, bring to a boil and then Simmer about 4-6 hours. Some add it to a Crockpot and let it go all day. You do what’s easiest for you.


Once done, STRAIN the Bones from the Liquid– and what you have is, Liquid Gold.


 

Another scenario is what to do with Bones you’ve already cooked or cut the meat off of. Like, left over Turkey bones, Deer bones, etc.


 

Again, brown under a Broiler and then simmer, simmer, simmer.

 


If the Bones are from an Uncooked Carcass, no worries. Brown them and simmer, simmer, simmer.


Now, some are against browning and that part is ALL up to you. If you don’t like to Brown, then just cook.


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Options: Broth v/s Stock

 

You can add Veggies and herbs to the water– carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, onions, whatever you like. You don’t have to chop them perfectly. Some people don’t even peel. They just toss em in. You can roast them under a broiler or just toss. They will all be strained in the end.

Now, the strength of your Bone Broth will depend on Cooking Time. I cooked my Liquid down once– by a lucky accident. By doing so, I realized I created something of a Condensed Stock. So, I added it to smaller Jars and then Froze it. This will be used by adding more Water, or for my Cream based Soups, etc. It’s REALLY Potent.


That brings us to the last bit…preserving. Depending on how much I have, depends on how I preserve it. Some, I add to Jars (leaving 2 inches of head space for expansion) and Freeze. Some, I add to Jars and then Pressure Can 11Lbs of Pressure for 70 minutes. (Times depend on rules YOU follow.)


Any questions, YELL!

 

Posted in Beef, Other, Pork, The Hungry Hen, Uncategorized, Veggies w/ Meat

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

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This one, I can never get tired of. I try to stay Gluten Free. I don’t have celiac disease but I do have a sensitivity to Gluten. It bloats me up, makes me where I can’t go to the bathroom OR it makes it where I can’t stay out of a bathroom. Also, it wears me down. I don’t have the energy to push through the day if I am eating Gluten all of the time. Makes me cranky and on edge. It also messes with my sugar. Not sugar as in, I need a shot or a candy bar when it drops. Sugar as in, when it drops, I get really sick to the stomach, weak and a migraine. If I don’t eat protein fast, I’m in trouble. That’s not even mentioning what it does to the bellies of the women in my family. We can go from a size five to a size thirty over night, lol.  Now, I know there are people out there that argue over whether the whole Gluten thing is real– for me, it is real.

Anyone who knows about Gluten, understands what I’m about to say next….

It is pure hell when you are first trying to pull off of it. Not just talking about the symptoms. I’m talking about trying to make a descent meal that doesn’t leave you feeling as though you’re missing out. It’s real hard sitting there while you’re family is gorging out on pizza and you’re trying to choke down yet another salad or baked meat dish that you’ve had a gazillion times.

Standing in the grocery store one night — running late with errands and not feeling like cooking once I got home– my husband suggests grabbing the kids something from the frozen section. After feeling left out one too many times and after he grabbed some frozen pizzas, I finally put my foot down and came up with this. Making my own dang pizza on something I love very, very much– portabella mushrooms. It’s not expensive, and depending on toppings, is very quick. I love Italian Sausage, so that adds a little bit to the time factor, however, this still didn’t take me forever and a day to make. And low and behold when I made it, I didn’t even get a picture of the cooked product — which is why you get the one above– because when I walked out of the room to grab my camera, my husband and kids raised the mushrooms. In fact, the dang frozen pizzas got wasted and tossed in the trash.

Now, the Recipe below is for 8 Mushrooms. And I am crazy for toppings, so I piled them all on. You can adjust the toppings to what you like, though. And you can adjust the amount of mushrooms that you make. You can even adjust the amount of toppings you put on– I like lots of toppings. I don’t have the ounces for the Cans of things I used– like Sliced Olives– but we can all tell the difference between small and large cans. (If you NEED and MUST HAVE ounces, I’ll add them, if you just let me know.) And I don’t buy pre-made Pizza Sauce, either. I make my own. It’s not hard. If you are keen on buying it, go for it, but try my homemade below if you’re ever up for it.

Ready? I’m going to give you the ingredients, some directions and then I’m going to show you how to get the mushrooms ready– with pics. The pictures will be part of the other directions. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Portabellos (When choosing the mushrooms, make sure they are thick, round and sturdy. If they are crushed in any way or not firm, don’t buy them.)
  • 2 small cans of SLICED black Olives
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced or you can use Roasted Peppers in a Jar — up to you.
  • 1 pack of Italian Style Pepperoni
  • 1 package of Italian Sausage — either ground or links. If you get links, you can squeeze the sausage from the Casing or you can cook it in the Casing and then slice to the thickness you desire.
  • Whatever other toppings you want — Banana Peppers, anchovies, etc.
  • 1 — (8ounce) bag of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (Unless you want more, then grab a bigger bag.)
  • 1/2 stick of butter.

 

SAUCE

  • 2 small Cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 2-4 gloves of Garlic
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Red Pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 TBSP Basil

 

DIRECTIONS for SAUCE

We are going to go ahead and mix up the sauce and put it on the stove to boil, and then to simmer while we prep the mushrooms and everything else.  So, with that being said, put the Sauce, minced or chopped Garlic, (optional, Cayenne), Salt, Red Pepper Flakes and Basil in a pan. Cover. I actually bring it to a low boil and then let it just sit in it’s own heat until I’m ready for it.

 

TOPPINGS

Now, let’s start frying your Sausage. And working on those Mushrooms…..

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We need to carve out the insides of the mushroom and remove the stem. For this, you are going to use a spoon, whatever size you are comfortable with. Just start by gently flicking out the stem and then scraping out the darker stuff like so….

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Be CAREFUL not to dig your spoon too deep. You do not want to puncture the bottom or the sides. We want to trap the toppings in, not have them running all over. Basically, you are making a bowl with a mushroom or a mushroom bowl, lol.

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This is what you will end up with, (the picture above). I don’t know if you can tell, but that bowl is pretty deep or deep enough for me to stack all my toppings in and for them to stay in.

Now, you most likely have a plate of this left….

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It’s up to you what you do with it but I always save it. I will add it to scrambled eggs or use it to make a Cream of Mushroom soup or I even add it to the Vegetable Soup I make and freeze for my lunches through the week. You can saute it, and add it back to the pizza but to me that’s a waste when we already have mushrooms — as a foundation for my pizzas– So, why not stretch it into another recipe.

Now that you have your foundation spooned out, place them on a Cookie Sheet.Start building your Pizza. I add a few tablespoons of Sauce or more first. Then I lay out the pepperoni — ON THE SAUCE– and BEFORE THE CHEESE. Pepperoni will help flavor your Sauce, so to me, this is the best way. Sprinkle on some Mozzarella Cheese. You decide how much. CUSTOMIZE this to your liking. If you LOVE Pepperoni, add some more on top the cheese. Next, add some Sausage, Black Olives, Red Pepper and Onion. Anchovies, if you use these things, are to be added last. 

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Once all your toppings are on, slice the butter and toss it in between the mushrooms on the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. It doesn’t take mushrooms long to cook at all. And the time will depend on how your oven cooks. You will be able to tell when they are done though. Should be some good juices in the pan and the mushrooms will loose some of their firmness.

Remove from the oven and eat. Let me know what you think because I can’t get enough of these! And if you have any left over, they are even better the next day!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Seafood, The Hungry Hen

Hot Cheesy, Vegetable Seafood Dip

It was right before Super Bowl and I decide, to hell with an actual meal, let’s do some dips and such. Well, if I’m going to do a Dip, I want to make sure it’s something I don’t get too often. That’s when my brain takes a plunge into the ocean. Next bright idea : Let’s do seafood! Yum!

I scan recipe after recipe until I find one that is Gluten Free AND something that has a wow-factor. I rush off to the grocery store, after bragging to others coming that THIS, THIS is WHAT I’m making. Unfortunately, I should have read the recipe better because I still had to make my mortgage payment for this month. What does that mean? It means that the Dip called for two not-s0-common cheeses that are priced pretty high where I’m from. If the Recipe would have called for a 1/2 here or there, I would have went for it, but it called for 5 cups (doubling the recipe) for one and that one was up there in Cost.

Because I had already bragged, already splurged on the not-so-cheap seafood, I had to think of something. What I thought of was what I came up with BELOW. And before you bat an eye, let me tell you that this stuff was AMAZING!!!! We used tortilla chips but you can use other chips, veggie sticks or french bread. And with the left overs, I started doing all types of stuff– stuffing mushrooms and fish. Everyone loved it. LOVED it! And while I still used SOME of the expensive cheese, I only used a small amount — considering what the recipe originally called for.

The pictures are not so great, so forgive me, but enjoy because this was so totally worth it.

img_7573Okay, we are throwing ALL of the Ingredients below (except the Seafood) into a Crockpot.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 10 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach
  • 14 oz Artichoke Hearts, Chopped
  • 8 oz Italian Style Shredded Cheese (Kroger carries this.)
  • 1-2 cloves chopped raw garlic
  • 4 oz REAL Lump Crab Meat (If you can’t find lump, just make sure its real, uncooked and fresh.
  • 1/2 Ib Shrimp (No Shell) Chopped
  • 4 oz Can of Clams. I used the whole ones– not the minced. Drain these, too.
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 TBSP Jalapeno minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Onion
  • 1/4 tsp Parsley
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Cubed Gouda. I used .53 oz and .44 oz. So target it near those amounts. If you get a little over or less, don’t worry. Shouldn’t make a difference. This was the expensive stuff, but a little, went a long way.
  • 8 oz Shredded Parmesan (Buy the fresh near the other shredded cheeses)

 

As I said before, throw everything but the Seafood into a crock pot. Let it melt and heat up. The amount of time will depend on how fast your Crock cooks. Make sure to go in here and there and stir. Just make sure nothing sticks. Nothing in mine did, but you never know. Add seafood 15 minutes before serving.

 

Let me know what you think. We loved it. And save those left overs. We stuffed mushrooms with them, topped baked potatoes with it, even added some to our scrambled eggs.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Carnivore, Chicken, Historical, Rabbit Recipes, The Hungry Hen

Maryland–Styled Fried Rabbit

This is an historical dish that was actually made for chicken but it was listed under Poultry & Game—which to me, means, anything else can work too. And, in case you don’t know, anything made for chicken, easily converts to rabbit. If you want to use it for chicken, though, go ahead, but I’m shoving it into my Rabbit files because anymore, I prefer Rabbit to chicken any ol’ day of the week. *winks*

Also, my picture, is without the Sauce on top. I had hoped to get one before and after but my family eats everything up so quick, I was only able to grab the before. Regardless, enjoy!

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This recipe came from, The American Heritage Cookbook. This recipe is a historical favorite.  I have adapted certain things for current times. For example, if it says paper bag, I changed it into zip lock.

Ingredients

  • 6 Strips of Bacon
  • Butter or Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 cup of Flour (More or less)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 3 – 3 1/2 pounds Rabbit (Or frying chicken)
  • 2 TBSP Flour
  • 2 cups Half and Half

Note: I add a bit more salt and pepper. I also add a tablespoon (More or less) of Paprika, Garlic powder and whatever else I have a mind to.

Directions

  1. Fry Bacon in a large skillet until brown. Remove. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add enough butter or oil to bacon drippings to make 1 inch of fat in skillet.
  3. Dump 3/4 cup of flour, salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings into a plastic bag. Shake.
  4. Add Rabbit pieces or chicken pieces. Shake.
  5. When Fat in the skillet is good and hot, add rabbit and fry on both sides till brown. Now, cover skillet, reduce heat and cook over low heat for about 25 minutes or until tender when tested with a fork.
  6. Transfer to a hot platter and keep warm.
  7. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of fat, stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for a few minutes. Then pour in the half and half. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick. Season to taste. Pour sauce over hot rabbit or chicken and garnish with bacon strips or crumble with the bacon. Serves 4
Posted in Depression Food, Pork, Soups & Stews, The Hungry Hen, Veggies w/ Meat

Split Pea Soup

0e0ebc60-aa8c-4fce-9548-60eac4bcbd5e Not everyone makes this anymore but when I was growing up, it was one of very few things my mother threw together. She learned it from Grandma and Grandma learned it from those before her. Its really simple to make. Inexpensive. Not the prettiest dish, which is why I didn’t even bother putting a picture of my own on here. I used one from Betty Crocker, although the recipe I am using comes from an old, vintage Cookbook called, Cookbook: Nutritious Cooking the Waterless Way. This was put out by Ekco Prudential back in the 1950’s. One of my favorite yard sale finds. Anyone who frequents this blog knows, I dig the vintage cookbooks because the ingredients were simple, as were the instructions, and everything was from scratch. Verses now, we have all of these processed ingredients, which I’d rather get away from.

And while this particular recipe can look kind of unappealing in a pot, I think it’s important to include. Its simple, filling, great for the frugal and easy to make from scratch. It does taste great and to be honest, you can jazz it up as far as looks go by adding big chunks of carrots, celery or whatever your heart’s desire. My Grandmother and them weren’t into pretty. They were into filling the stomach in a way that was as cheap as possible. My Grandmother, who grew up during the Depression, was famous for cooking on a dime. This may have been one she would have called Depression Food.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dried Split Peas
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 quart Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Small Ham bone, Bacon Rind or Salt Pork
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped

Directions

Wash and pick over dried peas. Cover with water and allow to stand and soak over night. (If salt pork is used, it should be cut in small pieces and browed.) Place soaked peas with an additional 1 1/2 cups of water in a 3 quart vegetable pan, over MEDIUM heat until cover vibrates or vapors escape, then reduce heat to LOW and simmer 2 hours. Remove ham bone and put remainder through a steamer – strainer pan, using masher to puree. Add milk and a dash of pepper to puree. Heat and serve. 8 servings.

 

Note: Now days we have hand mixers, etc. instead of steamers or strainer pans. You also don’t have to puree this. My Grandmother never did.