Martha Washington (1731-1802) - From the Garden to the Table
While George Washington oversaw most aspects of managing Mount Vernon's pleasure gardens & grounds, Martha Washington oversaw the Kitchen Garden (The Lower Garden), allowing her to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round.
“…impress it on the gardener to have every thing in his garden that will be nece]ssary in the House keeping way — as vegetable is the best part of our living in the country.” – Martha Washington, 1792
Inside the Kitchen at Mount Vernon
Savory Patties with Herbs & Vegetables
This modern recipe for meat-filled tarts—also called patties—evolved from a combination of several historic recipes of the Colonial and early Federal periods. Patties were baked and generally served as side dishes. In her recipe, Hannah Glasse asserted that five of the tarts “will be a dish.”
One of the most valuable tools in the Mount Vernon kitchen was Martha Washington's copy of The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy...By a Lady. Martha's copy is in the Library at Mount Vernon. Hannah Glasse's (1708–1770) The Art of Cookery...was first published in 1747. It was a bestseller for a century after its first publication, dominating the English-speaking market. It was published in America from 1805.
Mrs. Washington may have owned a number of cookbooks, but her 1765 edition of Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery and a manuscript cookbook (now at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania) are the only ones known to survive. The manuscript book (under the title Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery) is a very early compilation of 16th and 17th century receipts and came into Martha's possession at the time of her marriage to Daniel Parke Custis who died in 1757.
Glasse offered a decorative approach to the pastry shells as an alternative to the simple, filled patties. “Cut some long narrow bits of paste and bake them . . . for handles,” she wrote, and after the baked shells have been filled with the hot meat mixture, “set the handles across the patties; they will look like baskets if you have nicely inched the walls of the patties.”
This recipe is a modern adaptation by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.
1 pound ground chicken
1 pound ground pork
8 ounces ground beef
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 recipe Common Pie Crust (page 00), chilled
Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish
1. Combine the chicken, pork, beef, and onion, mixing them together thoroughly. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat mixture and cook, stirring and breaking the meat apart, until it is browned and thoroughly cooked. Drain the excess fat from the pan, and return to medium heat. Add the pepper, nutmeg, thyme, parsley, and salt, stirring until well blended.
2. Mix the butter and flour to form a paste. Blend into the browned meat, stir in the broth, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir constantly until the liquid is smooth and has thickened. Add the cream, and blend together well. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup patty-pan tin or muffin pan with lard or vegetable shortening.
4. Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into about 24 circles. Fit half the circles into the cups of the prepared tin or pan.
5. Divide the meat mixture among the prepared dough cups. Cover with the remaining dough circles, tucking each one into the sides of the cups and around the meat mixture. Poke a small hole in the center of each top crust.
6. Bake the patties for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crusts are lightly browned.
7. Serve the patties on a platter garnished with parsley sprigs.
Research & images & much more are available from the Mount Vernon website, MountVernon.org.