The hunt breakfast has been a ritual since the sport originated among the aristocracy in Great Britain from 1753 and the initiation of the first hunt club at Breedon Hall, a small manor house in the heart of the English midlands. You don’t need to have riding pinks or mount a horse to enjoy these traditional hunt breakfast recipes.
Traditional British Sausage Rolls
Sausage rolls are not only an essential offering at hunt breakfasts, but a traditional food throughout Great Britain and Ireland, so you will invariably find sausage rolls on the menu of most restaurants and pubs. They are easy to make, can be prepared a day ahead, and beg to be enjoyed in multiples!
§ 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
§ Scant teaspoon of granulated sugar
§ 1 medium onion, finely chopped
§ 2 pounds of country sausage meat (use a mild savory sausage, not one that is hot or heavily spiced)
§ teaspoon of sage (if the sausage is not already seasoned with sage)
§ 3 eggs
§ Fresh ground pepper to taste. Depending upon the sausage, you may or may not need to add salt.
§ 28 ounces of puff pastry (make life easy and buy at your local grocery store or try Dufour Pastry Kitchens Classic Puff Pastry, which you can order online. You’ll need two rolls)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Place oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Flick a bit of water and when it sizzles, add the chopped onion, stirring gently until it becomes transparent. Then, add a scant teaspoon of granulated sugar, which will caramelize the onion and turn a lovely brown.
3. If you have a Kitchenaid or other mixmaster with a meat hook, or a food processor, add the sausage meat, two of the eggs, pepper and sage and (optional) salt and blend thoroughly. (Alternately, of course, you can do this process by hand.)
4. Flour the surface of a large wooden cutting board or your kitchen work surface and roll out the pastry into two 8- by 10-inch rectangles. Cut each in two long strips, yielding four strips. Place two strips side-by-side on each of two greased cookie sheets and let them rest in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
5. Beat the remaining egg and add a little water till thoroughly mixed. Remove the cookie sheets from the refrigerator and with a pastry brush, brush the edges of the pastry rectangles.
6. Form the meat filling into a long roll. The meat roll should be no wider than half the width of the pastry strip and placed down the center, from top to bottom, so when you fold over the pastry, the seam completely covers the meat.
7. Flip the roll on the cookie sheet so the seam is underneath and brush the top of the roll with the remainder of the egg.
8. Cut the roll into 2-inch pieces and move each piece on the sheet so the pieces do not touch.
9. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and serve.
Hearty Beef Stew
There is nothing more filling or easy to prepare than a large bubbling pot of beef stew. To insure it stays hot, serve in a large chafing dish. This recipe is for 12 but can easily be doubled and cooked in multiple covered 6- or 7-quart Dutch ovens. This is best prepared on the stovetop, so you can stir occasionally to distribute the ingredients and juices. Just remember—“a stew boiled is a stew spoiled.” A slow, long cook is the only way to make a rich, delicious stew.
§ 3-4 lbs. stew beef (allow ¼ pound per person) or an inexpensive oven roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
§ Four medium yellow or Vidalia onions, quartered
§ 1-lb carrots peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
§ One small stalk of celery, chopped, including leaves
§ One small bunch of Italian parsley
§ Two tablespoons minced garlic
§ One-half cup balsamic vinegar
§ One-half cup olive oil
§ Thyme, salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
§ One can crushed tomatoes
§ One small can tomato paste
§ Four cups beef broth or 2 cups broth and 2 cups inexpensive red wine
§ 3 pounds small red potatoes or other potato with a thin skin
§ 2 tablespoons flour or corn starch
Stew beef is comparatively inexpensive compared to other cuts and if you buy an inexpensive roast and take the time to cut it into cubes yourself, it costs even less. Thing is, stew beef and pot roasts are tough unless properly cooked. Slow-cooking can solve the problem, but take this extra step to insure a really tender and flavorful beef for your stew.
The day before you cook your stew:
In a large bowl, place the beef, add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic and stir well, coating the meat thoroughly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator.
1. Take the stew meat out of the refrigerator and fold the meat and all the marinade into your Dutch oven.
2. In a separate bowl, empty the can of diced tomatoes. Do not drain. To this, fold in the tomato paste till thoroughly mixed.
3. Gradually add all the vegetables, folding them in one at a time until all is evenly dispersed. Add beef broth, stir, then add seasoning, and stir.
4. Cook on high until the stew comes to a slow boil then immediately lower the heat to low/medium, just below a boil, but enough so you see the broth is bubbling.
5. “A watched pot won’t burn” so check the stew frequently and stir so nothing sticks to the bottom.
Cook 2-3 hours until tender. Set aside and carefully pour out most of the liquid into a blender. To this, gradually add the flour or corn starch and blend till there are no lumps. Return to the Dutch oven, fold into the ingredients, and simmer on low until the stew is hot. Serve in a chafing dish.
Stirrup Cup Punch
In a large punch bowl, mix 14-ounces of CHERRY BRANDY, 14-ounces of CHRISTIAN BROTHERS BRANDY, one 2-litre bottle of ginger ale (not diet), one large frozen lemonade, thawed. Mix thoroughly. Add ice cubes (or a block of ice that has been frozen beforehand with slices of lemon, orange, and hulled strawberries, halved.) Serve in stirrup cups.