Comfort Food Weather

Winter has finally come to Virginia. As I write this, a frigid fog surrounds the Museum and Library, making the air seem much colder than the reported forty degrees. There’s a certain comfort in this weather, especially if you are able to enjoy it from a warm, well-lit office accompanied by a mug of tea. This is also the kind of weather that begs for a hot meal plucked straight from your childhood- or perhaps plucked straight from the fields outside.2013-01-23 23.17.13

On this particular day I am tempted to join the meal of artist Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait in A Good Time Coming. In it, a gentleman pours port into a camp mug while a guide cooks something awfully tasty over the campfire. Another guide in the background approaches with a fresh catch of fish, but it is left to the viewer to imagine what might be sizzling in the cast-iron skillet, or boiling in the large stock pot.

Detail: Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (American, 1819-1905) A Good Time Coming, 1862, oil on canvas 20 x 30 inches, Adirondack Museum

Alas, I have no campfire to keep me cozy. I do, however, have a cookbook to direct me in making my own field dinner at home. Field Feast: the Remington Cookbook by Jim and Ann Casada is a newer addition to the Library’s collection. Recipes include chicken-fried venison steak, creamed squirrel, and pheasant paprikash.

Pheasant Paprikash

  • 2tb canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced (optional)
  • Paprika – 1 ts or more (use amount you prefer)
  • 1 large fresh tomato (or 1 can tomatoes)
  • Few dashes red pepper
  • Few dashes black pepper
  • 2 pheasants, cut up
  • Salt to taste
  • 2tb flour
  • 1 cup milk

Place oil in Dutch oven and heat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add green pepper slices and cook a few minutes. Add enough paprika to make a deep red color and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Add tomato, a few dashes each of red pepper and black pepper. Place pheasant pieces in Dutch oven and add enough water to cover pheasant. Add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until pheasant is tender. Mix flour with cup of milk and add to mixture. Adjust seasonings. Let come to a simmer; do not boil after adding milk. Serve in bowls over noodles of your choice, such as ziti, macaroni, or shells. 

Any takers on trying this recipe? As I understand you can substitute a small chicken or cornish game hens for the pheasant. This could be a new cold weather favorite! For more information on Jim Casada, or to purchase one of his books, follow this link.



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