It sounds very good, Mike. I wonder what the difference would be if the whiskey was added to the pot at the beginning? Probably the idea of adding it towards the end is to preserve its flavor, but still I wonder how it would work this other way.
I have a book at home, a real 1950's artifact, which is about cooking with spirits, wine and beer. It is by a lady called Ruth Vendley Neumann. I always liked this book because first, amongst the spirits shown on the cover is a tall bottle of I.W. Harper. So Ms. Neumann chose quality stuff for her alcohol-based ingredients. Second, she has an engaging, 1950's can-do style and approach and tells funny stories. Plus, the recipes are interesting in most cases. She does sometimes uses the odd canned ingredient or other short-cut - this was a feature of early post-war cookery in North America, now somewhat demodee - but the core of most recipes is very sound.
She gives a recipe for beef stew and bourbon called Jimmie Carter's Stew. (No connection to President Jimmy Carter that I can see). I'll quote it in full tonight, and give the name of the publisher and full name and date of the book in case anyone wants to track it down on Amazon.
She gives a recipe for an all-beer-based sauerbraten, brought from Austria on a tour there in the early 1950's (she mentions seeing damage from WW II that hadn't been repaired), which I've tried and is amazing. This recipe is associated with wine of course but it makes a great beer-based dish too.
Also, she gives a recipe to cure pickles (from cucumbers) that involves an all-beer brine.
It's books like this (amongst many others, e.g., some of James Beard's, or the Time-Life Cooking Series from the 1960's with that vibrant colour photography of the era) that show that good cooking was not a rarity before the 1970's in America. There was a lot of good and inventive cooking around, some of it regional, some of it lurking in kitchens in cities like Chicago where she lived. People always knew how to cook good food but maybe not always how to promote it or the lifestyle associated with it.
I'm a gonna cook up Mike's stew maybe with some ideas from the Jimmie Carter recipe and put the casserole on a heat proof Lazy Susan and pass it 'round for the crowd to eat up. And we'll get some good beer (maybe for this one we'll go back to the Neumann era and get some Michelob or Ballantine XXX or Molson Export) and yea maybe some vintage Harper too, or somethin else I've got from the 1950's (well, 1970's will do), and I'll get out a deck of Kents or Export "A" (just kidding), and some Floating Island for dessert or Cherries Jubilee. And why not start with a mess of oysters or a chilled shrimp cocktail? With iced celeri and carrots and shallot in a lipped thick glass holder like you use for a Sundae. Who eats Sundaes anymore anyway, so maybe that should be the dessert.
And it will be GOOD.
Last edited by gillmang
on Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.