Morbid title, I know! But, I guess it got your attention, right? Anyway, today is President’s Day, the United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. Since the Uniform Federal Holidays Act of 1971, its observance can occur between February 15 and 21 inclusive.
Enough with the history lesson.
Today, let’s prepare some food items that were said to be favorites of Washington and Lincoln. Then we can truly enjoy history for the day!
Lincoln was said to be a bit of a picky eater at dinner (or perhaps he was just preoccupied with brilliant ideas), but he did love Chicken Fricassee. This creamy recipe includes earthy mushrooms, shallots, and bit of bacon!
President Abraham Lincoln and President George Washington are both documented as loving Hoecakes for breakfast. According to Donna McCreary’s cookbook Lincoln’s Table, Abraham Lincoln once said that he could eat “corn cakes twice as fast as two women could make them”. The Mount Vernon Organization confirms Hoecakes were among George Washington’s favorite foods. Both President’s loved them drenched in butter and syrup or sorghum.
In honor of those two great leaders, today, let’s prepare a modernized chicken fricassee and corn fritters (instead of the hoecakes, which are good by the way).
3 cups corn kernels (fresh or THAWED and drained from frozen)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
Salt and Black pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup heavy cream
Vegetable oil, for frying
Sliced scallions, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
In a large bowl, stir together the corn kernels, flour, sugar, baking powder, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
Stir in the eggs and heavy cream until the batter is well-combined, being careful not to overmix.
Line a plate with paper towels. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with vegetable oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, scoop 2- to 3-tablespoon mounds of the corn batter into the pan, spreading it lightly into a flat, circular shape. Cook the fritters for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them once and cook them an additional 3 minutes until they’re golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the fritters to the paper towel-lined plate, season them immediately with salt and repeat the cooking process with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Garnish the corn fritters with scallions and serve them with sour cream or garlic aioli for dipping.
1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
¾ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion chopped
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 ¾ cups chicken stock
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Wash and dry the chicken pieces.
Combine the flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, Cajun seasoning blend, and paprika in a shallow bowl. Dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour to coat evenly.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large braiser or deep skillet over medium-high heat on the stove top. Place the chicken pieces in a single layer and cook until brown and crispy on all sides. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add onions to the pan, and cook until slightly soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms start to brown, about 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the flame and add apple cider vinegar to pan to deglaze. Return to flame, and bring to a quick boil. Add chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
Place chicken, skin side up, in a single layer in the pan. The liquid should not cover the chicken entirely. Add any juices that have accumulated on the plate to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially. Cook until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees, about 30 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
Simmer liquid, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Add cream, lemon juice, and parsley. Continue simmering and gently stirring until combined and hot. Return the chicken to the pot and gently cook over medium low heat another 3-5 minutes until the chicken is warmed and the sauce is thick.
Serve immediately with homemade biscuits, rice or mashed potatoes.