Old-fashioned Chicken Pot Pie with Baked Dumplings

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie with Baked Dumplings is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter day. I found this delightful hundred-year-old recipe in a promotional cookbook for KC Baking Powder. Chicken pieces smothered in a rich gravy are topped with tender dumplings.

This authentic old-fashioned pot pie recipe calls for cutting a whole chicken into pieces (legs, thighs, breast, etc.), and putting the pieces- including bones and skin – into the pot pie. I had doubts about doing this, but it worked just fine. I also thought that it seemed unusual that the recipe didn’t call for any vegetables – but I really didn’t miss them. The chicken pieces made lovely presentation and for a nice surprise for guests when the crust is opened, and the chicken was very tender and almost fell off the bones.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Cook’s Book: KC Baking Powder (1911)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Chicken Pot Pie with Baked Dumplings

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 chicken, cut in pieces

water

1/4 – 1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 – 1 cup milk

Place chicken pieces in a dutch oven, cover with water, cover pan and bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is tender (about 45 minutes). Remove from heat and place chicken in a large casserole dish (2 1/2 – 3 quart dish).

Strain the liquid that the chicken was cooked in, and place in a saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, put 1/4 -1/2 cup flour in a small bowl, and add enough water to make a thick paste.  Stir the flour mixture into the boiling liquid while stirring constantly. Continue cooking until the liquid thickens into the gravy.

(The amount of flour needed is dependent upon how much liquid there is. I used 1/2 cup of flour, and then first stirred half of it into the boiling liquid. When it didn’t thicken it to a gravy-like consistency, I added more of the flour mixture.)

Add the hot gravy to the casserole dish that contains the cooked chicken until it is almost covers the chicken and is about 1 1/2  inches below the top of the dish. Don’t overfill the dish or it will boil over when heated in the oven.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 425° F.  To make the dumplings, put 2 cups flour in a mixing bowl; then stir in the baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture, then add 3/4 cup milk, and stir with a fork to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add additional milk to create a dough similar in consistency to what would be used to make biscuits. Drop by spoonsfuls on top of the chicken and gravy. The top should be  completely covered with the dough. Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 25 – 35 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve.

Steamed Graham Pudding with Lemon Sauce

I’m stranded in the house by cold weather and snow, so I decided it was the perfect time to make a hundred-year-old recipe for Steamed Graham Pudding with Lemon Sauce. Since I had nowhere to go, it didn’t faze me that the recipe called for steaming the pudding for 2 hours.

It was worth the time and effort. The moist, rich Steamed Graham Pudding was embedded with raisins, and had sweet and sassy molasses undertones. When served with Lemon Sauce, the tartness of the sauce balances nicely with the heartiness of the pudding.

Judging by the number of steamed pudding recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks, steamed puddings were very popular a century ago – yet it’s rare to see any steamed pudding recipes in modern cookbooks except for the occasional plum pudding recipe. Today steamed puddings are often considered difficult to make with a lengthy cooking time. However, back in the days of wood and coal stoves that had the fire going all day, they were an easy-to-make dessert that was often made using an old coffee can as a mold.

Here are the hundred-year-old recipes:

Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1917)

I decided to go with “good” and served the pudding with lemon sauce, rather than topping with whipped cream to make it the “best.” It’s a bit of an overstatement to say that the pudding is “almost as light as a souffle,” but it is simply delicious.

I used a steamed pudding mold to make the pudding. The molds can be found in many (usually upscale) cooking equipment stores. It’s unfortunate that Target, JC Penney, and other more mainstream stores no longer sell these molds; however, casserole bowls can also be used as a mold. BBC Good Food has an excellent video that succinctly describes how use a bowl to make a steamed pudding as well as general information about making steamed puddings.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Steamed Graham Pudding with Lemon Sauce

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Steamed Graham Pudding

2 1/2 cups graham flour

1 cup milk

1 cup molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried currants or raisins (I used raisins.)

Combine the graham flour, milk, molasses, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl, then stir in the currants or raisins. Put the mixture in a greased mold, and put the mold on a rack in a deep kettle; add enough water to come half way up the mold. Cover kettle. Bring to a gentle boil and steam for 2 hours. Remove from mold and serve warm with Lemon Sauce or whipped cream.

*Cook’s Note: I used a 2-liter mold. A 2-quart mold would also work.

Eggless Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 cup hot water

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Put the sugar and corn starch in a saucepan, and stir together. Add water and stir until smooth. Using medium heat bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer while stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Serve warm.

Dollar Stretcher – Use Milk in Coffee

The January, 1918 issue of Ladies Home Journal had several Dollar Stretcher tips which show “how women’s wits have overcome high prices.” One tip left me saying “dah.”

Cream will not be missed in your coffee if milk is first heated, poured in the bottom of the cup and the coffee slowly added.

Was this a new idea in 1918? I generally use milk in my coffee, and I don’t even bother to heat it first or put it in the bottom of the cup. Works just fine.

Old-fashioned Creamed Tuna Fish

At my house all the holiday baking is done (and has been consumed), and I’m ready to put up my feet and relax. To me this means that it’s time to make simple, basic, comfort foods like Creamed Tuna Fish.

The hundred-year-old recipe that I found for Creamed Tuna Fish only had two ingredients: tuna fish and white sauce. My updated version has four since I listed the ingredients in the white sauce.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

Creamed Tuna Fish is wonderful when served on toast, and it hits the spot after all the heavy holiday meals.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creamed Tuna Fish

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 can tuna

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir the flour into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. If mixture is too thick, add a little more milk.  Stir in the tuna and bring back to a boil; remove from heat.  Serve over toast, biscuits, rice, etc.

1917 Pictures of Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen

Source: Good Housekeeping (December, 1917)

Good Housekeeping magazine has had test kitchens where recipes are tested for at least a hundred years. Here are two 1917 photos of the Good Housekeeping test kitchen.

Caption: This is a view of Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen where all recipes appearing in Good Housekeeping, both on these pages and elsewhere in the magazine, are actually tried out. Here also are all sorts of kitchen utensils and appliances are give a thorough test under conditions identical with those in the average house. (Good Housekeeping, December, 1917)

Old-fashioned Potato Croquettes

Christmas isn’t even here yet, but I’m already worrying about leftovers. I justify this to myself by saying that I like to plan ahead, but maybe I should be enjoying the moment.

In any case, I ALWAYS have leftover mashed potatoes after holiday meals, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Potato Croquettes that calls for mashed potatoes. The Potato Croquettes had a crispy crust filled with a delightful spicy mashed potato mixture flavored with paprika, cayenne pepper, celery salt, parsley,  and onion.

Here’s the original recipe:

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Potato Croquettes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups hot mashed potatoes (If they are cold, they can be reheated in the microwave.)

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper

1/8 teaspoon celery salt

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup flour

1 egg, beaten

1 cup fine bread crumbs

approximately 1/2 cup shortening

Mix together the potatoes, butter, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, celery salt, parsley, egg yolks, and minced onion. Shape into 1-inch balls; then roll in flour, dip in beaten egg, and finally roll in bread crumbs. (If the potato mixture is sticky – and not very firm, skip dipping in the egg.)

Place the shortening into a frying pan, and heat until hot. (There should be about 1/2 inch of melted shortening. Add more if needed.) Drop balls into the hot shortening, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

When I made the recipe I used 1/2 teaspoon of salt rather than the 1 teaspoon called for in the original recipe. I also used chopped onion rather than onion juice. The recipe turned out fine with these substitutions.