Recipes From the American Frontier - C&I Magazine (2024)

Sherry Monahan gets us familiar with the taste of the season with these holiday recipes.

Pork Roast

(Serves 4 – 6)
3 – 4 pounds boneless pork roast
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup flour

Sprinkle the roast with the salt and pepper. Roll it around in the flour. Place the pork in a roasting pan, fat side up.Bake uncovered for 1½ – 2 hours at 325 degrees. A meat thermometer should register 150 – 160 degrees when the roast is done. Allow to stand for 25 minutes before slicing.

Recipe adapted from Cyclopedia of Valuable Receipts: A Treasure-House of Useful Knowledge of the Everyday Wants of Life by Henry B. Scammell, 1897.

Delmonico Potatoes

(Serves 2 – 4)
Melted butter
3 large white or yellow potatoes, peeled and cooked
¼ cup grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups white sauce (recipe follows)
Bread crumbs

Butter a baking dish. Cut potatoes into ½-inch cubes to make 2 cups. Put a layer of potatoes into the baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese, salt and pepper, and half the sauce. Repeat. Cover the top with bread crumbs and drizzle with butter. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the crumbs are brown.

Recipe adapted from the Aberdeen (South Dakota) Daily American, 1910.

White Sauce

(Makes 2 cups)
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups milk

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble, add the flour and seasonings. Stir and cook 2 – 3 minutes to allow the flour to cook. Gradually add the milk and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens.

Recipe adapted from the Morning Olympian (Olympia, Washington), 1907.

Hot Rolls

(Serves 6 – 8)
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1½ cups warm water (110 degrees)
2 teaspoons salt
4½ cups bread flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of the warm water. In a separate bowl, combine the salt and the remaining warm water. Pour this into the yeast mixture. Add 4 cups of the flour and mix well. If the dough seems sticky, gradually add additional flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is springy and smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place (75 – 80 degrees) until doubled, about 2 hours.Punch the dough down and allow it to rise for another hour. Punch the dough down again and tear off pieces the size of a medium onion. Cup your hands and roll the dough pieces into balls. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Continue doing this until all the dough has been used. Using the palm of your hand, flatten each roll. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Brush the rolls with the melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from the Kansas Home Cook Book, 1874.

Sarah Hescox’s English Plum Pudding

2 cups stale bread
2 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup raisins, prunes, or a combination
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, cloves, and mace
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon chopped orange peel
1 cup brandy

Remove the crusts from the bread and cut or shred the bread into small pieces and lay on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees until dry — about 10 minutes, depending upon how dry the bread was to start. Place the bread in a large bowl and cover with the milk. Let stand for about 1 hour or until the milk is absorbed and soft. Beat the bread and milk until combined and then add the eggs, molasses, sugar, butter, raisins, salt, spices, and orange peel. Grease a 2-quart ovenproof dish. Fill the greased pan half-full of batter. Cover with lids or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Test with a knife and if it comes out clean when put into center of pudding, it’s done. Pour brandy over the pudding and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to eat. When ready to serve, warm additional brandy and ignite. Serve while flaming.


(Makes 1 cake)
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup molasses
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar(see note)
1 teaspoon baking soda (see note)
½ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons brandy
2 pounds raisins
Rum (optional)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the molasses and mix until blended. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, including the raisins, and stir.Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour, stirring after each addition. Beat for an additional 2 minutes.Pour into a greased and floured loaf or ring pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Liberally soak with rum, if desired.
Note: You can substitute 2 teaspoons baking powder for the cream of tartar and baking soda.

Recipe adapted from the San Francisco Bulletin, 1879.

Cream of Chicken Soup

(Serves 2 – 4)
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups chicken stock, homemade preferred
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup mushrooms, sautéed

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream. Heat for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms just before serving.

Recipe adapted from The Rocky Mountain Cook Book: For High Altitude Cooking by Caroline Trask Norton, 1903.

Photography: (all images) Courtesy Sherry Monahan

From the November/December 2019 issue.

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Recipes From the American Frontier - C&I Magazine (2024)


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