Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so obviously we have something very important on the brain — yes, food. But not only food: this time of year, when we make the pilgrimage to our childhood homes, also makes us think of the books that delighted us as kids, still waiting for us on the shelves, beaten up as they are from many reads. So in case you’re feeling like a literary feast tomorrow, and in honor of nostalgic reading and home-cooked meals on this most belly-stuffing of holidays, we’ve re-created one of the original Redwall feasts — Abbot Mortimer’s Golden Jubilee. Warning: these recipes have not been tested, so take them with a grain of salt. A Redwall Cookbook does exist, but it’s slated for grades 3 to 7 — not a serious chef’s read. Consider this us clamoring for an adult version! Click through to see the famous dishes and recipes of good old Redwall Abbey, and let us know if its fictional feasts have ever inspired your own culinary ambitions.
A note: before your meal, it is only fitting that you say the Abbot’s grace:
“Fur and whisker, tooth and claw, All who enter by our door. Nuts and herbs, leaves and fruits, Berries, tubers, plants and roots, Silver fish whose life we take Only for a meal to make.”
Then dig in!
Contrary to popular belief (or at least the belief we held while growing up on these books), this is not an alcoholic drink.
(Makes 4 cups) 2 pkg. frozen sweetened raspberries 1 1/4 c. sugar 3 lemons 4 c. boiling water
Put the unthawed raspberries into saucepan and add the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring once in a while, 20-25 minutes, until all the sugar has dissolved. With a potato masher mash the raspberries and syrup thoroughly. Pour the mixture through the strainer, making sure you extract all the juice. Discard the pulp. Squeeze 2 of the lemons and strain the juice. Add it to the raspberry juice. Boil 4 cups of water and add it to raspberry juice. Let raspberry cordial cool, and then chill it. [Recipe from Cooks.com]
Peach and elderberry brandy
This one is, however. We wonder how much brandy a mouse can really drink before he starts getting a little saucy.
(Makes 2 quarts) 2 quarts fine brandy 1/2 lb. loaf sugar 4 pints elderberries 1 pound peaches
Take a pint of water and 2 qts. of brandy, and put them into a pitcher large enough to hold them and 4 pints of elderberries. Mash or squeeze the peaches to pieces with the hands, and add to all the fruit the brandy. Put in 1/2 lb. of loaf sugar and let it steep for a week. Then put the mixture into a canvas bag or run it a little at a time over a piece of flannel, and press it as long as it will run. It may be racked into other bottles a week after. [Recipe adapted from Public Bookshelf]
At least eleven cheeses, including “a cheddar cheese that four badgers couldn’t roll” — as to where the cutoff for that is, we’ll leave it to your judgement.
Tender freshwater shrimp garnished with cream and rose leaves
2 lbs. raw, shelled freshwater shrimp 8 oz. cream cheese 1/2 c. half and half 2 tbsp. butter 2 tbsp. fresh rose leaves 1 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic 1/2 tbsp. sweet basil Pepper
Melt butter, add garlic and cook over low heat 1 minute. Add cheese and cream. Mix over medium heat until sauce is smooth. Add chopped rose leaves (leaving some whole to garnish), basil and pepper. Add shrimp and heat until shrimp is done (do not overcook). Serve over rice, noodles or patty shells. If a thinner sauce is desired, add 1 bottle of clam broth after cheese has melted. [Recipe adapted from Cooks.com]
Marinated cabbage stalks steeped in creamed white turnip with nutmeg
1 head roasted garlic 1 bunch (about 4 cups) white turnips, trimmed, peeled (outer layer discarded), and cut into 2-inch cubes 1 bunch fresh, springy cabbage stalks 1 medium spring onion, root and green top trimmed to 1-inch lengths from the bulb and cut into 8 wedges 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock Salt and freshly ground pepper 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 slices prosciutto, cut into thin strips and 1-inch lengths 1⁄4 cup crème fraîche or whole cream Green onion tops, to garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim the top of the garlic and wrap with foil. Place in the middle of the oven and roast until soft to the touch, about 30 to 45 minutes. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the soft pulp by pressing the blade of a chef’s knife against the bulb to release the roasted flesh; discard the papery casings.
Place the garlic, turnips, onions, and chicken stock in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the turnips are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the cabbage stalks until tender. Remove soup from the stove and puree until smooth with a handheld blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pan. Add the cabbage, nutmeg, prosciutto, and crème fraîche. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring to blend. [Recipe adapted from The Daily Meal]
Friar Hugo’s pièce de résistance: Grayling á la Redwall
When buying the fish — two pounders are best, and you should shoot for a pound per person (we’re not actually mice) — make sure that your fish meets standards: “nice shiny scales, bright eyes, beautifully fresh.” To accomplish this, you may want to recruit a couple of enthusiastic fellow to fish it out of the river a few hours before your meal.
4 whole graylings, filleted 2 c. butter 4 tbsp. minced garlic 2 lg. white onions 2 bunches fresh rosemary 4 tbsp. thyme 2 c. chopped beechnuts 2 c. honey 4 c. fresh cream 1 bunch mint leaves 2 1/2 c. white gooseberry wine Flour, salt, pepper, oil
Season and flour filets well. Pan fry filets until lightly brown – not well done. Remove from pan and set aside on paper towels. Remove oil from frying pan and sauté rosemary, thyme, beechnuts and garlic in butter until tender. Add wine and stir well for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add fish filets to sauce. Let simmer until all filets are cooked. Warm cream, mint and honey together and pour over the fish. Sprinkle the entire thing with lemon juice before serving and garnish with leftover mint. [Adapted from Cooks.com]
Apple and mint ice cream
Perfect for eating while making moony faces at the pretty mouse down the banquet table.
1 1/2 c milk 2 oz bitter chocolate 3/4 c apple jelly 1 c cream 3 drops peppermint extract 1 egg white
Cut chocolate into small pieces. Add to milk and heat until chocolate is melted, beating occasionally to blend the chocolate with the milk . Cool. Whip egg white and jelly together until stiff. Add to chocolate milk, mixing thoroughly. Add mint Flavoring and fold in whipped cream. Stir mixture thoroughly and chill. Freeze. [Recipe from Big Oven]
2 lbs chestnuts, shells removed 2 lbs granulated sugar 2 1/2 cups water 1 vanilla bean
In a large saucepan, cover chestnuts with water. Bring to a boil. Boil 8 minutes. Discard liquid. Drain. Using a kitchen towel, rub off brown inner skins. In a large saucepan, cook sugar, water and vanilla bean over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Add chestnuts. Increase heat. Boil 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean. Pour syrup and nuts into a large bowl. Let stand 12 hours. Return to pan. Boil 1 minute. Return to bowl. Let stand 24 hours. Repeat process 3 times until syrup has been absorbed.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees F. Cover a wire rack with parchment paper. Place chestnuts on wire rack. Bake in preheated oven with oven door open 2 hours or until firm. Remove from oven. Cool. [Recipe from Epicurean]
1 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 c. water 1/2 c. butter 1 1/2 c. acorns, finely chopped 2 (6 oz.) pkg. of semi sweet chocolate melted or use 2 lg. milk chocolate bars
Combine sugar, salt, water and butter; heat to boiling. Cook to light crack stage (285 degrees). Add 1/2 cup of the nuts. Pour onto well-greased cookie sheet. Cool. Spread half of the chocolate mixture over top and sprinkle with 1/3 cup nuts. Cool. Turn and spread with remaining chocolate and sprinkle with the remaining nuts. Break in pieces to serve. Makes about 2 dozen pieces. [Recipe adapted from Cooks.com]