Martha Washington’s Turkey Stew

I believe I have mentioned that I have been watching A Taste Of History.  So I have been wanting to make Martha Washington’s Turkey Stew with Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles from the first episode.  But to do this I needed a fire to cook over.  So very kindly on Tuesday Tom started building us a fire pit in our back yard.  He dug out a hole and spread concrete on the bottom.

He then laid bricks into the concrete for the floor of the pit.  He placed bricks along the edges to make the wall of the pit.   And then placed concrete to secure those bricks.  On Wednesday he placed some bricks for the edge and added rocks to provide a border.  

So yesterday I started making the stew.  I rewatched the episode and found his Tavern Turkey Stew recipe online.  I cut up 3 pounds of turkey thigh meat with the leftovers going for another batch of turkey broth.  I got the huge leftover drumsicks ready to roast.   I prepared the marinade for the turkey.  This used out fresh basil, parsley and thyme.   I also need to make a demi-glace.  I used this recipe and started simmer it.  It was described as easy but did not seem that easy to me.  That accomplished we went out to do chores and discovered that a mole had built a hole on the edge of the fire pit, making a big mess of it.

Jay and the grandkids came over for a visit in the afternoon, and William brought the wood to the pit to start our first fire.

Of course, William had to go sit on his quad.

We all hung out by the fire.  It was time for them to go.  William showed off the wallet that Tom had just made for him.  Now it was time to start the stew.  The Dutch oven went in the fire with some lard.  And then the turkey meat fried.  And then the vegetables were added.  I did include some of our turnips like on the show.  The sherry was added to the oven, and a pot of water was started for the noodles.Here is the table to help with the cooking supplies.Turkey stock was added to the stew, and the water started to steam.  It was really nice sitting by the fire, sipping on perry, and watching the birds.  The neighbor’s giant cottonwood tree was dropping seeds so it was like it was snowing.  It was peaceful.

The demi-glace went into the stew at the end.  The noodles did not turn out.  The rolled and cut dough waited for an hour in the sun for the water to boil and ended up in globs in the water.  But here is the stew and noodles on the platter.  The “noodles” were weird, but the stew was really good.  And I am learning about cooking in a Dutch oven over a fire.

This entry was posted in Historic recipes, Recipes- farm. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Martha Washington’s Turkey Stew

  1. Jeanne says:

    Very interesting! A lot of work involved, though! Do you think you’ll try it again?
    My younger daughter and her husband have done buried dinners. She would fix up two dinners in cast iron Dutch ovens,while he would dig the big hole in the ground. I can’t remember the whole process, but we always had two wonderful pots of stew, both different.

    • Donna says:

      I doubt we will do it again because I doubt we will have 3# of turkey thigh meat again. Our plan is to raise the turkeys smaller in the future. I think I would prefer fire pit stew to buried stew.

Leave a Reply