We have lots of fun foods to celebrate many holidays throughout the year – Valentine's Day, St. Patricks Day, Easter, etc. etc. BUT, we don't usually find a whole lot of President's Day dishes when browsing Pinterest! So, this year, why not honor the holiday with this President's Day Menu inspired by Abraham Lincoln.
In trying to come up with a Lincoln-inspired menu, I did a little research about the foods that were common in the mid 1800s and anything I could find about his favorite foods. I came away finding lots of mentions of eating all kinds of wild critters like grouse, rabbit, turtle, squirrel and basically a whole list of things that made me saw “ewwwwww”.
Even the formal Lincoln Second Inauguration menu doesn't sound all that appetizing to me (except for the desserts of course!) Here it is courtesy of NPR.
It turns out that Lincoln himself didn't really care much about food as he was always concerned with more important matters and, supposedly, he often ended up skipping meals unless he was reminded to eat. From what is known, a few of the foods he did like were apples, coffee, cornbread, honey, and chicken fricassee. He also liked to make a meal of fruit, nuts and cheese. As for his most common beverage – water.
Sooooo…..my suggestion is to start the evening with a fruit and cheese plate along with nuts. If you're planning to do a “whole meal” then you can serve this chicken fricasse accompanied by cornbead. If you want to be really authentic, you can use original recipes from the 1800s as found in the Civil War Cookbook by William C. Davis. I found these recipes to be very bland and not very appetizing, so instead I have given you my own more guest-pleasing versions.
President's Day Menu
Chicken Fricassee Recipe
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
pinch of rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 split chicken breast halves
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
handful chopped fresh parsley
Mix flour and spices in a container with a tight-fitting lid or a zip-top bag. Add chicken and shake to coat well. (Save leftover flour mixture.)
Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. (I love to use THIS PAN!) Add chicken. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side until browned. Remove chicken to a plate.
Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to pan. Sautee onion 4-5 minutes or until browning. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add in leftover flour, broth and wine. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in carrots and set chicken on top. Cover and let cook 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
For the bread, I used this delicious and easy cornbread recipe from my mom. It's awesome!
For dessert, serve up an apple pie or you can make these delicious Baked Apples in the Microwave.
Oh, yeah don't forget the beverages! You don't have to stick to water like Lincoln – – It is a celebration after all!