A Golden Lamb Thanksgiving: A Treat Since 1870

            I’ve spent a lot of time lately traversing Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio following, so to speak, in Abraham Lincoln’s footsteps . And while it’s not recorded that Lincoln stayed at the Golden Lamb in Lebanon, Ohio, it’s certainly possible ashe traveled throughout the area. The connection seems apt because the GoldenLamb has been in continuous operation since it first opened in 1803 when Jonas Seaman spent four dollars on a license to open a log-cabin tavern under the sign of a golden lamb (because literacy wasn’t common, signs with images were used instead).

Sister Lizzie’s Shaker Sugar Pie
Photo courtesy of the Golden Lamb

            A host of other famous people have stayed there including, according to General Manager Bill Kilimnik, 12 presidents, Mark Twain and Charles Dickins. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and an avid abolitionist was also a guest and I slept in the room she occupied and no (to the people who have asked) it’s not haunted though another room is said to be and there’s also a ghost cat that some have seen. But that’s a different holiday and the tie-in with Lincoln is that in 1870, he proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November a national holiday and the inn’s restaurant has served Thanksgiving dinner since then–which has got to be some type of record. 

            The restaurant is famed for many of their menu items including fried chicken, sauerkraut balls,Sister Lizzie’s Sugar Shaker Pie (White Water Shaker Village was once a large settlement of Shakers about three miles from Lebanon)–named by USA Today as the Best Pie in Ohio–and their yeast rolls made from a recipe first used by Robert and Virginia Jones in the early 1930s whose family still owns the inn. Their turkey dinners at Thanksgiving are very popular but if you can’t make it this coming Thursday,roast turkey is on the menu year round.

            According to several newspaper articles, back in the 1800s, the inn’s Thanksgiving menu included several oyster dishes including just plain oysters, consommé oysters as well as turkey stuffed with oysters. Other dishes were  whitefish, roast beef, chicken croquettes, wild duck, broiled quail, celery and lettuce—you could order it plain or with mayonnaise), plum pudding, mince pie, pineapple with “De Brie cheese”  and Charlotte Russe. I couldn’t find a description of the cheese, but plenty of advertisements for it in the late 1800s and early 1900s so my guess is it’s a type of creamy brie. Charlotte Russe a dessert of sweet cream and sponge cake popular during both the Victorian and Edwardian eras. 

Golden Lamb’s Mushroom Cobbler
Photo courtesy of the Golden Lamb

            The Golden Lamb may be one of the few long-time restaurants that doesn’t have a cookbook and their recipes are hard to come by, but Paige Drees who works at the inn shared their Mushroom Cobbler which she said (and I agree) would make a great Thanksgiving side dish. I also found an original handwritten recipe for Sister Lizzie’s Sugar Shaker Pie on the website of the Vintage Recipe Project, an online site founded in order to document and preserve historic recipes from the past. I’m not sure if it’s the same as what the inn serves but I tried the recipe and it seems very similar to what I had at the restaurant.  

Yeast Rolls
Photo courtesy of the Golden Lamb

Golden Lamb’s Mushroom Cobbler

1 cup Shitake mushrooms sliced

1 cup button mushrooms quartered

1 cups oyster mushrooms sliced

1 cups cremini mushrooms sliced

2 each shallot sliced

1 packet fresh poultry blend herbs

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces goat cheese

2 ounces dry sherry

4 cooked crumbled biscuits

1 packet fresh poultry blend herbs, cleaned and chopped reserve ½ for Biscuit topping

1 cup heavy cream

 8 ounces goat cheese reserve ½ for Biscuit topping

2 ounces dry sherry

Heat a medium sized skillet add one tablespoon of vegetable oil and sauté your shallots until tender, add all mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. once the mushrooms are fork tender add sherry to deglaze pan. add your cream and reduce by half, fold in your goat cheese and fresh herbs, turn off and set aside.

One of the private dining rooms at the Golden Lamb

Biscuit topping

4 cooked crumbled biscuits

2 tablespoons melted butter

Remaining goat cheese

Remaining fresh herbs

Place all ingredients into medium sized bowl mix until it resembles a crumb topping.

1 bunch chopped asparagus

2 ounces sliced sun-dried tomatoes

2 ounces pearl onions

½ cup baby spinach

Prepared mushroom mix

In a medium skillet sauté your pearl onion until caramelized, add your asparagus and sundried tomatoes and sauté for two minutes add the mushroom mix from earlier. add spinach, check seasoning and put mix into casserole dish sprinkle on biscuit topping and bake at 350 for eight minutes until bubbly and golden brown

Golden Lamb Yeast Dinner Rolls

1 ½ cup milk

4 teaspoons dry yeast

4 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons salt

½ cup sugar

5 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1 egg

Heat milk until warm, 100 degrees. Put yeast in a small bowl, add about ½ teaspoon sugar, then stir in milk. Let sit until foamy. Combine flour, salt, sugar and shortening in a mixer bowl, and mix to combine. Add the milk mixture and egg. Mix on mixer until combined, then beat for about 13 minutes.  Or, by hand, mix until combined, then turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Oil the dough ball lightly, cover the bowl with a towel and let rise for an hour, when it should be doubled in size. Punch down. Divide the dough into about 24 balls of dough. One way to do this is to divide the dough into two, then all each half of the dough into a long rope on a flour-covered counter. Cut each rope into 12 equal portions, and roll each into a ball.

Place on a flat baking sheet and cover with a towel, Preheat oven to 350. After the rolls have risen about half an hour,  bake them  until golden brown and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Check frequently. Serve as soon as possible after they come out of the oven. 

Yields 8-10 servings.

Sister Lizzie’s Sugar Shaker Pie

     1/4  pound butter

    1 cup brown sugar

    1 3/4  cups light cream

    1/3  cup flour

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    Grated nutmeg

    1  9-inch pie shell, unbaked

Thoroughly mix the flour and brown sugar and spread evenly in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.  Pour the cream and vanilla over this.  Slice the butter into 12-16 pieces and add.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Bake in a 350°F oven for 40-45 minutes or until firm.

For more information, 513-932-5065; goldenlamb.com

Bourbon and Southern Cooking at the Historic Beaumont Inn

Robert E. Lee CakeWhen I arrive in the new bourbon tasting room at the historic Beaumont Inn, there are already set-ups of four bottles of bourbon with empty glasses in front of each. Master Blender Dixon Dedman, who with his parents own the inn which has been in their family since 1917, is famed for his bourbon tastings as well as his revival of the bourbon his great great grandfather, Charles Dedman, who in 1880 started up what would become one of the largest distilleries in the state, until before Prohibition shut it down.

In other words, Dedman is a bourbon expert and I am someone who in my college days mixed the spirit with diet cola. But not this evening. Dedman is going to teach me how to taste the “terroir” of bourbon meaning the type of land here—limestone rock and natural springs that give a special flavor to the wheat, corn and rye used to make bourbon. There is, I note, no diet cola anywhere in sight.

“When they char the barrel it releases the sugars and caramelizes it,” Dedman says as he pours Pappy Van Winkle, a 20-year old bourbon named in tribute to Julius Van Winkle by his grandson and great grandson who are carrying on the family tradition.

That’s important because Pappy Van Winkle is a wheated bourbon which means it contains no rye  and thus gets its flavor from the interaction with the barrel.

“Focus on where you’re tasting it,” he says. “That’s how you build your palate.”

Because it’s wheated,  which means, Dedman tells me, you can taste it in the front of your mouth.

Pappy Van Winkle has almost a cult like following says Dedman.

“When they’re going to release it, people sit in their cars in front of liquor stores for two days to get a bottle,” he says.

At this point, I know I can’t ask for a can of diet cola.ky-owl-bourbon-e1505438614307.jpg

The next taste is a sip of Four Roses Al Young 50th Anniversary. Now I remember Four Roses as a cheap bourbon—the kind you do mix with soda pop particularly at college dorm parties but its roots go back 130 years. The brand was allowed to languish and almost disappeared until Al Young, Senior Brand manager with 50 years of experience in the bourbon biz, was allowed to bring it back to its glory. He has several blends which are based on patented yeast strains he’s developed. The taste of this bourbon comes from the yeast strains and rye and Dixon says to pay attention to its finish on the back on the mouth.Cornmeal cakes witht beaten biscuits

When Dixon was working on developing Kentucky Owl he wanted to emulate the complexity of Four Roses. Later this month, he’ll be releasing his Kentucky Owl Batch # 7, the seventh of his limited release bourbons.

“It’s an 11-year old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey and it’s exactly what a Rye Whiskey should be,” Dixon writes on Kentucky Owl’s Facebook page. “I put this blend together and bottled it at 110.6 proof. It’s a full-flavored rye perfect for the coming fall weather.”

Barrel aging can produce bourbons with a high proof count but then before they’re bottled, they’re watered down to around 80 proof. But Dixon wasn’t about to do that to Kentucky Owl.

“It’s full flavored,” he said about this batch of Kentucky Owl and it sure was. “You can’t hide anything in barrel proofed whiskeys.”

Later, when I’m in the dining room ordering dinner—the Classic Beaumont Inn fried yellow leg chicken, beaten biscuits, country ham—I glance at the bourbon list. I read that Dixon’s Batch #6 costs $40 a glass and am glad I didn’t ask for a diet cola. Not just because I would have looked stupid but also because I had begun to get a sense of how to appreciate a great bourbon.

Beaumont Classic DinnerBut the Beaumont Inn is about more than Kentucky Owl. It was built in 1845 as a girl’s school and was bought by Dixon’s great great grandmother in 1917. Two years later she turned it into an inn. Many of the recipes on the menu and in their cookbook have been favorites since they first opened including, fried green tomatoes, house made pimento cheese, traditional Kentucky Hot Brown, corn meal batter cakes with brown sugar syrup and the General E. Lee Orange Lemon Cake.

The latter, my waiter told me, was such a favorite of the general that he carried the recipe in his breast pocket. I guess that was in case anyone asked if they could bake a cake for him. I, of course, had to order that despite being a northern girl, and it was delicious—very light with a distinct sugary citrus taste. The lightness I discovered later was because the cake flour used in the recipe is sifted eight times.

The food at the Beaumont Inn is so good that a few years ago they won the James Beard America’s Classic Award which is given to “restaurants with timeless appeal, each beloved in its region for quality food that reflects the character of its community. Establishments must have been in existence for at least ten years and be locally owned.”

The inn itself is beautiful, all polished wood and thick carpets, antique furniture and the timeless grace of a wonderfully kept three-story historic mansion with an exterior of red brick and tall white columns. Located in Harrodsburg, the oldest city in Kentucky, it sits on a rise on several rolling, beautifully landscaped acres. I mentioned Duncan Hines a few weeks ago when I was writing about Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville, Kentucky well, Duncan was here quite a bit too and I can see why.

“Now write this down for the people in Kentucky,” he told a reporter back in 1949. “[Say] I’ll be happy to get home and eat two-year-old ham, cornbread, beaten biscuits, pound cake, yellow-leg fried chicken, and corn pudding. And you can say what I think is the best eating place in Kentucky: Beaumont Inn at Harrodsburg.”

DSC_0446
Beaumont Inn

The food here is real Kentucky fare–Weisenberger meal from a seventh generation mill not far from here, Meacham hams which the Dedmans bring to maturation in their own aging house—a process that takes several years and, of course, Great Great Grandpappy’s Kentucky Owl.

The following recipes are courtesy of the Beaumont Inn Special Recipes, their cookbook now in its sixth edition.

Corn Pudding 

2 cups white whole kernel corn, or fresh corn cut off the cob
4 eggs
8 level tablespoons flour
1 quart milk
4 rounded teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt

Stir into the corn, the flour, salt, sugar, and butter. Beat the eggs well; put them into the milk, then stir into the corn and put into a pan or Pyrex dish. Bake in oven at 450 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

Stir vigorously with long prong fork three times, approximately 10 minutes apart while baking, disturbing the top as little as possible.

Country Ham Salad

6 cups chopped aged country ham

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1/2 cup chopped purple onion

1.5 cups chopped sweet pickle

2 chopped hard boiled eggs

2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard

Hellman’s Mayonnaise to your liking.

Note: This is great on crackers, finger sandwiches with a thin slice of homegrown tomato, toasted open faced sandwiches with tomato and a melted slice of your favorite cheese or as an appetizer – toasted crostini, ham spread, thin slice of homegrown tomato topped with shredded parmesan cheese run under the broiler.

Corn Meal Batter Cakes

1 cup corn meal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons bacon drippings or shortening

Sift meal, soda and salt together. Add beaten eggs, then buttermilk. Beat until smooth. Dip a tablespoon of batter (or a bit more) onto a greased hot griddle. Let brown on bottom, then turn quickly and lightly to brown on other side. Serve with Brown Sugar syrup.

Makes about 10-12 good-sized cakes.

Brown Sugar Syrup

2 pounds light brown sugar

3 cups cold water

Mix sugar and water well. Bring to a hard boil for 10 minutes. Do not stir after placing over heating element as stirring or agitating will cause syrup to go to sugar

General Robert E. Lee Orange-Lemon Cake

9 Eggs, separated

a few grains salt

2 cups cake flour, sifted twice before measuring

2 cups white sugar, sift 6 times

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 lemon, juice

Grated rind (yellow part only)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Beat egg yolks to creamy texture; beat egg whites until stiff. Add baking powder and tartar to flour and sift six times. Mix all ingredients together. Divide batter into four greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn cakes upside down on a rack until cool.

Spread Orange-Lemon Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Store in refrigerator until serving time. Garnish with orange slices and fresh mint leaves if desired.

Orange-Lemon Frosting

¼ pound butter, softened

3 egg yolks

2 (16 ounce) packages powdered sugar, sifted

4 oranges, rind of, grated

2 lemons, rind of, grated

4 tablespoons lemon juice

6-8 tablespoons orange juice

Cream butter; add egg yolks and beat well. Add powdered sugar and grated rind alternately with juices, beating well.

Original “Robert E. Lee” Cake

Twelve eggs, their full weight in sugar, a half-weight in flour. Bake it in pans the thickness of jelly cakes. Take two pounds of nice “A” sugar, squeeze into it the juice of five oranges and three lemons together with the pulp; stir it in the sugar until perfectly smooth; then spread it on the cakes, as you would do jelly, putting one above another till the whole of the sugar is used up. spread a layer of it on top and on sides.

638 Beaumont Inn Drive, Harrodsburg, KY. (859) 734-3381; beaumontinn.com