Sidekicks - Western Side Dishes

Just imagine...Out of 27.935 million hopefuls you are chosen to be the next contestant on the new reality cooking show  "Holiday Civil War Era Side Dishes with Celebrities".  It's just you and Rachel Ray pitted against Stonewall Jackson and Bobby Lee.  Rachel has gone blank, the pressure is on, your mother is watching.  Quick, dash into the dressing room and confer with that mysterious caped Christmas culinary crusader, the Poinsettia Avenger. The winning answer. "sagamite"  and  so it is, another real life problem solved by our hero.

But in case sagamite is not your cup of tea here are some other tasty options (recipes follow):


Candied Sweet Potatos

Celery Sauce

Potatos a la Parisienne

Calf's Head Soup

Potato Herb Salad

Peas and Bacon

Braised Celery


Mountain Man Beaver Soup

Navajo Blue Bread

Hangtown Fry

Pop's Rattlesnake


(There are quite a few old recipes in this section, remember the date if known is under the name and  presented the way I found it, no changes have been made to old recipes)


Candied Sweet-Potatoes



Steam the sweet potatoes until perfectly done, and peel them. Have ready two teacupfuls of sugar boiled into a syrup, with one and a half teacupful of water. It should be like the syrup of preserves. When removed from the fire, but still warm, stir into it a very heaping tablespoonful of nice butte


Slice the potatoes into a baking-pan that will hold them without being quite full. Pour over them the syrup, put extra bits of butter about on top of them, and set them in the stove to bake. Now and then tilt the pan and dip up and pour over the potatoes some of the syrup. Do not let the top get dry. Bake rather slowly for about an hour and a half. Serve in the pan in which it is baked and send to the table hot.




Celery Sauce



Wash and pare a large Bunch of Celery very clean, cut it into little Bits, and boil it softly till it is tender; add half a Pint of Cream, some Mace, Nutmeg, and a small Piece of Butter rolled in Flour; then boil it gently. This is a good Sauce for roasted or boiled Fowls, Turkeys, Partridges, or any other Game.



Potatoes A La Parisienne



Take one pound of well boiled, mealy potatoes-weighed after being cooked-and pass them through a fine wire sieve-a utensil which ought to be found in every kitchen. Season the pulp with salt and pepper, moisten it with one ounce of butter, one beaten egg, and two tablespoons of cream, and flavor it with either chopped parsley, or finely-minced onion, which ever flavor happens to be preferred.  When all ingredients have been well mixed, divide the preparation into small equal- sized portions; form these into neat little pyramid shapes, brush the surface of each with beaten egg , sprinkle with fine, brown raspings, place carefully on a baking- tin and bake in moderate oven until the pyramids are quite heated through.  Arrange carefully on a hot dish-paper, sprinkle the tops very lightly with finely  minced parsley, and serve hot, accompanied, if desired, by some rich brown gravy in a tureen; but the dish, which is a most delicious one, is generally preferred dry.




Mock Turtle or Calf's Head Soup



Lay one large calf's head well cleaned and washed, and four pig's feet, in bottom of a large pot, and cover with a gallon of water; boil three hours, or until flesh will slip from bones; take out head, leaving feet to be boiled steadily while the meat is cut from the head; select with care enough of the fatty portions in the top of the head and cheeks to fill a tea-cup, and set aside to cool; remove brains into saucer, and also set aside; chop the rest of the meat with the tongue very fine, season with salt, pepper, powdered marjoram and thyme, a tea-spoon of cloves, one of mace, half as much allspice and grated nutmeg. When the flesh falls from the bones of the feet, take out the bones, leaving the gelatinous meat; boil all together slowly, without removing the cover, for two hours more, take the soup from the fire and set it away until the next day. An hour before dinner set the stock over the fire, and when it boils strain carefully and drop in the meat reserved, which should have been cut, when cold, into small squares. Have these all ready as well as the force-meat balls, to prepare which rub the yolks of five hard-boiled eggs to a paste in a wedgewood mortar, or in a bowl with the back of a silver spoon, adding gradually the brains to moisten them, also a little butter and salt. Mix with these, two eggs beaten very light, flour the hands and make this paste into balls about the size of a pigeon's egg; throw them into the soup five minutes before taking it from the fire; stir in a large table-spoon browned flour rubbed smooth in a little cold water, and finish by the seasoning by


the addition of a glass and a half of sherry or Madeira wine, and the juice of a lemon. It should not boil more than half an hour on the second day. Serve with sliced lemons.


One can see where attention to detail can mean so much, is it not the addition of the sliced lemons that really makes this dish so enticing?


Potato Herb Salad

6-7 medium potatoes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cupp onion finely chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons shallots finely chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic finely chopped

fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup parsley chopped


1-2 teaspoons hot green chilis

chopped 1/2 teaspoon tarragon


Put potatoes in large saucepan, cover with cold water. Bring to boil and simmer

until fork tender. Peel potatoes when they are just cool enough to handle, cut into slices.

Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl gently stir in potatoes.



Peas and Bacon

1 cup cooked peas

2 slices bacon

1/2 cup sour cream

fresh ground pepper


Cut the bacon into small strips and fry until crisp. Pour off part of the fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Add the cooked drained peas and heat; then add enough sour cream to make a covering sauce. Do not boil. Add pepper to taste.



Braised Celery


12 stalks celery,cut into 2" lenghths

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion,finely chopped

2 carrots diced

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 ripe tomato,peeled,seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Preheat oven 325

Simmer the celery in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and place in shallow baking dish. Add all the chopped ingredients except chopped tomato and parsley Cover and cook in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove

from oven garnish with parsley.






(old civil war recipe)


Basically hominy grits or cornmeal which is boiled until cooked (about 1/2 hour).

Dried meat or fish were added, and then seasoned with drippings or sunflower oil. Squash when in season, was another addition.


Mountain Man Beaver Soup


Beaver tail and bones

2 medium potatoes

2 cups cooked hominy

1 medium onion

Remove the tail skin*. Put broken leg bones and tail (which has been cut in peices) in a kettle with enough water to cover and simmer half an hour covered. Add the cooked

hominy, onion and potatoes then cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.


*How to skin a beaver tail:

Impale beaver tail on a sharp stick and broil over hot coals,

the hide will blister and come off, it is then ready to be boiled or roasted.



Navajo Blue Bread



2 cups finely ground blue cornmeal

2 tablespoons juniper ashes (I don't know if this is the same juniper

that we use in our yards, I'd substitute with a few juniper berries from

the spice section of your supermarket)

1 cup boiling water

pinch of salt


Place juniper ashes in a bowl and add the boing water Stir mixture then strain. Now add the water to the cornmeal to make the dough. Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball and flatten into a cake. Bake on greased griddle for 10 minutes on each side.


Hangtown Fry


Legend says that a miner from a California gold town called Shirttail

Bend wandered into the Cary Hose Hotel in Hangtown and demanded to have the most expensive meal they had. Eggs and Oysters were the most costly ingredients they had at the time so the cook came up with this little recipe.


1 dozen small oysters

flour seasoned with salt and pepper

1 egg beaten

cracker crumbs


8 eggs


Dry the oysters on a towel. Dip each in seasoned flour then in beaten egg, then in cracker

crumbs. Fry in butter until crumbs are brown. Beat the 8 eggs, pour into frying pan where oysters remain. Cook until firm then flop over and cook other side.



Pop's Rattlesnake


1 Rattlesnake

heavily salted brine

bacon fat or butter

flour or cornmeal

Cut off head and tail. Insert sharp knife in the vent and make a slit along the whole underside. Peel off skin. Remove thread,entrails and dark line along spine by scraping

Cut into 3-4" pieces, place in brine. Put a weighted plate on top to keep submerged, let set for 3 days Remove from brine wash and dry well Roll in flour or cornmeal.Fry in bacon fat or butter until fork tender



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