i've been involved in a series of dinners inspired by historic menus. (this started with King Midas' funerary feast
a few years ago and has spiraled out of control from there.)
this one was based on the dinner menu for Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural (an annotated reference
the damn thing is basically half meat and half desserts. by the time i had time to think about a dish (since i spent most of the last month+ in and out of movie theaters) the desserts were well-represented, so i decided to rep the "en geléé" portion of the menu. we also had oyster stew, chicken salad, chicken fricassee, tongue, fruit tarts, poundcake, and a charlotte. we watched a couple hours of Gettysburg
, ate the savories, watched the rest, ate dessert.
i made this meat aspic
recipe with beef.
- i did the initial beef boiling in the crock pot on low during the work day, lifted out the (disintegrating) meat, then poured the liquid into a pot through a colander lined with coffee filters.
- then i added the beef to the pot and i basically followed the recipe on the stove top from the adding of the aromatics point on. if i had to do it again, i would have bagged up the aromatics in cheese cloth like a bouquet garni - picking hot floppy onion and peppercorns out of a pile of hot meat is not super fun. if i had been home on the day i made it, i would have done the aromatic stage in the crock as well.
- i was surprised at how little food a couple pounds of chuck roast turned into - one loaf pan plus one small dessert dish (my tester).
- i was afraid that the amount of gelatin it called for was excessive, but it was perfect - a set soft enough to melt in the mouth, but firm enough to unmold neatly. i embedded flat leaf parsley on the top and the bottom, in case the tester tasted good but didn't unmold well.
i had nothing to fear:
you eat it in slices (it takes a very sharp knife, cleaned between slices, to cut the meat neatly) with a bit of grainy mustard. i was surprised at how much i liked it, and it was a hit with everyone but C (who couldn't overcome the texture of the gelatin).