Dried Pea Potage
A favorite among the fishermen, roustabouts, and longshoremen at the Hotel de la Marne, one bowl can warm a wind-chilled visitor.  “The term potage was used in the 18th Century to indicate a large dish of meat or fish with vegetables.”  Serves 8.
2 cups dried peas
1/2 cup dried kidney or navy beans
1 to 1 1/2 pound ham butt
1/4 pound salt goose, smoked sausage, or soup bones (optional)
1/4 pound pork fat or bacon, diced
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
6 to 8 cups beef bouillon
1 large onion, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons flour, more or less
Soak peas and beans overnight.  (Tip from the fireplace:  Salt should not be added to the peas until they have softened.  Dried legumes remain hard if the salt is added too soon.)  Drain and add hot water and simmer for 1 hour.  Put in ham and other meat, if using any, and continue to simmer until the water is almost evaporated.  In a frying pan, render the fat, remove the dices, and sauté the onion in the fat until just translucent.  Incorporate flour until the fat is absorbed.  While stirring constantly, add 1 cup bouillon to make a smooth sauce or fricassee.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Add the fricasseed onion to the peas along with the rest of the bouillon.  Add the bay leaf and sage, adjust the seasonings, and simmer 30 minutes.  Serve with croutons.
img Eggs au Pain
We ate this for lunch because the largely Catholic community observed meatless Fridays and Saturdays.  Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons soft breadcrumbs
1/4 cup cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
10 eggs
2 tablespoons butter
Soak breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in cream for 10 minutes.  Beat eggs well.  Beat into crumb mixture.  Heat butter in a pan and cook as for a plain omelet.
(Optional:  Top with cheese and cover until the cheese melts.)

How To Do Up Salt Cod
“Once a staple in the diet of millions, salt cod has now become more of a dietary curiosity…When buying the salted fillets follow the advice of Menon, author of La cuisiniere bourgeoisie:  “choose white meat, black skin, and large fillets.”
1 pound salt cod
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (1 teaspoon dried)
1 green onion, minced
1 cup milk
Cover the fish with cold water and leave overnight, or simmer for 1 hour. Do this twice, using fresh cold water each time.  When the fish is tender and not too salty, prepare a white sauce with the butter, flour, pepper, mild, vinegar, parsley, and green onion.  In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter.  Add the parsley and green onion and cook without browning for 3 to 4 minutes.  Incorporate the flour and allow it all to bubble for a minute or two.  Gradually add the milk while whisking until the sauce is thickened.  Cook 8 to 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. (the more you stir it, the whiter and shinier it becomes).  Add the fish and simmer on a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Beef Brisket a l’allemande
We cooked beef on the ingenious clockwork-driven spitjack, powered by a descending weight.  A pan beneath caught the drippings that had olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped onions and garlic added to use as a basting.  Serves 8
2 pounds brisket, cut in 4 pieces
1/2 large cabbage
4 cups bouillon
4 onions, whole
4 large spiced sausages
Salt and pepper

Bouquet garni
2 tablespoons fresh, minced parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 small sprig of thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
2 basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)

img1/4 cup green onion minced)
Place beef in bouillon with the herb bouquet [bouquet garni] well immersed.  Bring to a boil an simmer gently for 1 hour.  Blanch the cabbage; but in 4 wedges, tie each securely with string.  Place the cabbage, peeled onions, and sausage with the meat.  Add salt and pepper to taste, continue to cook over medium high heat for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the bouquet and arrange the meats in the center of a serving dish, surrounded by the vegetables.  Strain the remaining liquid through fine white cotton or muslin, and pour over the beef brisket.


This story is the sole property of Reed Hellman Wordsmith.  No more than a brief excerpt for a review may be reproduced or used in any way without written permission of the author.  Contact Reed Hellman Wordsmith at reedhellmanwordsmith@comcast.net.

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