Christmas classics: suckling and duckling

High Tradition.
Iconic.
Harken romanticized memories of Victorian Yuletide. Classic fare like roast suckling and duckling + plum pudding ( a crown for luck ).
And Wassail for good cheer.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…discover such grand delights.
Roast Suckling
1 suckling pig ( 8 to 10 lbs )
5 apples
2 large onions
1 quart bread crumbs
4 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp chopped parsley
salt, pepper
sage or ginger
Wash and rinse the suckling inside and out with a weak solution of baking soda, with attention to the head openings and mouth.  Then soak the suckling in salt water for about 15 minutes. Dry thoroughly.
Rub the insides well with salt. If desired, pepper and sifted sage or ginger may be rubbed on the interior. Mix bread crumbs with peeled and finely chopped apples, onions, chopped parsley and melted butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and enough milk to moisten the mixture. Stuff the cavity. Cover the legs and ears with oiled paper and truss. Place a corn cob into the suckling’s mouth to keep the jaws open.
Place into a roasting pan in very hot oven until brown;
then reduce heat to moderate until done. Baste frequently. Do not allow any water or steam to form as it is likely to burst the skin and spoil the meat.
Time required for roasting the suckling is about 10 – 12 minutes per pound.  Custom is to insert a red apple into the suckling’s mouth and place on a platter surrounded with rustic veggies.
Roast Duckling
1 domestic duck (4 to 6 pounds)
1 teaspoon caraway seed
4 cups crushed seasoned stuffing
1/2 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch dried thyme
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chicken broth
Orange Glaze
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons + 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch salt
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 drop hot pepper sauce
Sprinkle inside of duck with caraway seeds, prick carcass with fork. In a large bowl, combine the stuffing, vegetables, seasonings and broth. Loosely stuff duck with the stuffing, truss
drumsticks. Place breast side up on a rack in a large
shallow pan. Bake uncovered at 350 for 2- 1/2 to
3- 1/4 hours. Drain fat from pan as it accumulates.
Cover loosely with foil if duckling browns too quickly.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.
For the glaze, combine the sugars, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.  Gradually stir in orange juice, peel and hot pepper sauce until blended. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Christmas Plum Pudding
1/2 pound beef suet
1 cup flour
1/2 pound raisins
1/2 pound currants
2 ounces citron, cut fine
1 cup sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 cups flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoonful each, ground cloves and cinnamon
1/2 teaspoonful each mace and salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sweet milk
Sift together three times the flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
Chop fine the suet, mixing it with the cup of flour; add the fruit, sugar, lemon rind, and the flour mixture together. Mix this thoroughly, then stir in the eggs beaten very light and mixed with the milk. The mixture should be quite stiff. Steam six hours in a buttered, two-quart mold. Serve with hard or liquid sauce. Chopped figs or dates and nuts may be used in place of the fruit mentioned.  
Rum Sauce
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup beaten cream
Mix sugar, yolks and rum, then the stiffly beaten whites. Cook until thick; add the beaten cream. Chill and serve.
Figgy Pudding
1 cup suet
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons rum
1 apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 pound dried figs, ground or finely chopped
Grated peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large egg whites, stiffly beaten
Grease a two-quart mold.
Cream together butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar, egg yolks, milk, extract, apple, figs, lemon and orange peel. Add next 6 ingredients, mixing well. Fold stiffly beaten egg whites into mixture.
Pour into two-quart buttered bowl or mold and place into large shallow pan and steam for four hours.
Custard Sauce
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
In saucepan, scald milk and allow to cool.
Mix together remaining ingredients, except for butter. Add to cooled milk. Cook over low heat until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, mixing well. Serve pudding warm with custard sauce or sweetened whipped cream.

The Christmas Table by Diane Morgan

Wassail
1 pint water
1 cup honey
4 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 lemons thinly sliced
1 bottle medium dry red wine
Boil together water, honey, cloves and cinnamon for five minutes. Add two lemons thinly sliced and allow to stand for 7 or 8 minutes. Add a bottle of medium dry red wine and heat slowly until just below boiling point.
Classically, Wassail was poured into a handsome sterling or pewter vessel and passed around the holiday table to share the good yuletide cheer.
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