Hundred-Year-Old Chicken and Ham Turnovers Recipe

Both a century ago and now, cooks have asked the question, “What should I do with the leftovers?”

I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Chicken and Ham Turnovers that is a wonderful way to use leftovers. The turnovers were yummy and easy to make, and the accompanying sauce added just the right amount of zing.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)
Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)

Since the recipe indicates that a “”buttercup biscuit” or a “rich biscuit dough in which the yolk of an egg is used,”  I searched for a hundred-year-old buttercup biscuit recipe. I failed to find one, so I went with a biscuit recipe I found and added an egg yolk (and reduced the milk a little to compensate). Here’s the old biscuit recipe:

Source: Larking Housewives Cook Book (1917)

When I made this dish, it seemed a tad salty so when I updated the recipe for modern cooks, I reduced the salt. Here’s the updated recipe:

Chicken and Ham Turnovers

  • Servings: 2-3 servings
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Filling

1 cup cooked chicken, diced into 1/4 inch pieces

1/3 cup cooked ham, diced into 1/4 inch pieces

Biscuit Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons shortening or lard

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg yolk

1/2 – 2/3 cup milk

Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ketchup

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400° F. Combine diced chicken and ham in a bowl. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Cut in the shortening and butter using a pastry blender or two knives going in opposite directions.  Stir in egg yolk and 1/2 cup milk. The dough should cling together and be of a consistency that it can be rolled. If needed, add additional milk. On a prepared surface, roll the dough out and cut into rounds approximately 5 inches in diameter. (I used an inverted cereal bowl to cut the rounds.)  Place a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture on one side of each round, brush water on the edge of round, fold over and press edges together. Put on rounds on a baking sheet, and brush with milk. Put in oven and bake until the top is lightly browned (about 20 minutes). Remove from oven and serve with sauce.

While the turnovers are baking, make the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan; stir in the flour and pepper. Add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, then  slowly add the chicken broth while stirring continuously. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

 

Hundred-Year-Old Chicken (Turkey) a la King Recipe

Chicken al a king

Recently a serendipitous event occurred. I saw a recipe for Chicken a la King in hundred-year-old magazine, and a left-over chicken breast languished in my refrigerator.

My mother and grandmothers often made Chicken (or Turkey) a la King to use left-over poultry – and I suddenly craved this old-time comfort food. The recipe did not disappoint. This delightful dish was both tasty and easy to make.  The diced meat was embedded in a lovely thick and creamy sauce that contained mushrooms and green pepper. It is perfect when served over toast, biscuits, rice or pasta.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Chicken (or Turkey) a la King

  • Servings: 5 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup half and half cream

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1/4 cup  butter

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

1 cooked chicken breast, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (or use 1 cup diced left-over chicken or turkey)

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

dash pepper

Combine the half and half, chicken broth, lemon juice, and egg yolks in a mixing bowl; set aside.

Melt butter in a skillet, then stir in mushrooms, green pepper, and onions.  Using medium heat, cook until  the vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes) while stirring occasionally; then stir in the diced chicken. Stir in the flour, salt, paprika and pepper.  While stirring constantly, slowly pour in the combined liquids that previously had been set aside and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. May be served over toast, biscuits, rice, or pasta.

And, here’s the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), April, 1916
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), April, 1916