Thursday, October 11, 2007

Balnamoon Skink - an Irish Chicken Soup

I collect old recipes. I don't always make them - sometimes the charm of the recipe has been lost to history - but they are usually interesting to read if nothing else. My recent acquisition of "The Questing Cook" by Ruth A. Jeremiah Gottfried (1927) is a good read. Ms. Gottfried uses humor in her subtitles ("A noble end to a fat fowl")and if you can get passed some of the inappropriate comments about other cultures, it makes for an entertaining slice of Americanized ethnic recipes from the 1920s. Balnamoon Skink is an example that I thought I would share - mainly because I am going to actually make this one. I have copied the recipe as written by Ms. Gottfried below. If you make this one - and I'm going to if only to tell my family we are having Skink for dinner - let me know what you think of it.

Balnamoon Skink: Better than Cockie-Leekie

Balnamoon skink is a way that the Irish have with chicken soup. Its fundamental is two quarts of chicken broth. The recipe does not dictate how you come by the broth; an honest way is to boil it out of the carcass of a chicken; or, better, you can dedicate a whole fowl cut in joints to its making, and afterwards serve the flesh stripped from the bones afloat in the skink. Having the broth, you will need ten minutes for preparation and three-quarters of an hour for boiling. Ingredients:

2 quarts of chicken broth.
8 young onions.
10 celery branches.
1 head of lettuce.
1 tablespoonful of minced chives
2 sprigs of parsley.
1 bay leaf.
1 sprig of thyme.
2 eggs.
1 cup of shelled green peas (if in season); 1 pound unshelled.
1 cup of cream
Salt and Pepper.

1. Chop to small bits a head of lettuce, eight young onions and ten celery branches, and pile them into the chicken stock. Add one cup of shelled green peas if they are available.
2. Season the pot with one tablespoonful of minced chives, one tablespoonful of salt, and a bunch of sweet herbs (2 sprigs of parsley, a bay leaf, and a sprig of thyme - securely tied with thread to ensure easy removal).
3. Put a tight lid on the pot and let it simmer until the vegetables are transparently tender. This will require three-quarters of an hour.
4. With a light touch jumble up two eggs with a cupful of cream and stir this mixture into the skink just before serving it, being careful not to let it boil after the introduction of the egg mixture.

1 comment:

Eliseo Mauas Pinto said...

Cute blog!...Regarding how you get the broth...Maybe you might be interested on this earlier receipe which from the book "The Cook and Housewife's Manual" by Christian Isobel Johnstone, 1847.

Clean and cut into pieces two or three young cocks, or fowls.
Have one larger neatly trussed as for boiling.
Boil the cut fowls till the broth is as strong and good as they can make it; but do not overboil the uncut fowl.
Strain the broth, season it with parsley, chives, and young onions chopped, and, if in season, a few tender green peas. Add white pepper and salt, and serve the whole fowl in the tureen, or separately.

—Obs. This soup may be immensely improved in quality and appearance by adding, before serving, a liaison of two beat eggs, and a little cream. It is another variety of the Scottish Friars' Chicken, or Cock-a-leeHe; dishes which, under some name, are, with whatever modification of seasonings, familiar in every country where a backward system of husbandry renders indifferent poultry plentiful, and shambles-meat scarce.

N.B.—Without desiring to innovate on these national preparations, we would recommend, for the sake of the ladies' dresses, and the gentlemen's toil in fishing it up, that the fowl be carved before it is served in the tureen.

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