A Slider for Every Series: Chowdah Slidah, Boston Red Sox
I used a long ago summer in Boston for my inspiration today! For a girl from the desert, a city like Boston with its colonial history was such a fun place to explore! One of my college friends and I rented rooms in an MIT fraternity house one block from the Charles River. We could walk to both the red and green lines, and that gave us access to everything we could want to do.
One night we went to a restaurant in Faneuil Hall. It was touristy, yes, we’d heard it was fun to banter with the servers, known for being brusque. When we finally made it upstairs, there were no private tables, but rather picnic tables where random groups were seated together. Durgin Park’s menu was based on old New England recipes. There were items on the menu I’d never before seen. Littlenecks (oysters), Poor Man’s Roast Beef, Mince Pie. Many of the offerings here were things I had heard of in reading historical novels, but never personally eaten. Not a taco in sight!
We happened to be seated next to a couple of older Italian women, who overheard my marvel at the new food. They wanted to be sure we got to taste everything, so they offered us a bite of everything they were served. The one food that has stuck in my mind, to this day, was the Indian pudding. It’s a molasses-based cornmeal pudding that tastes like a piece of history.
Brown bread is not on this menu, but it’s synonymous with Boston. So I tried the old school “steamed in a can” method. It’s not my own recipe, but here is the link if you wish to try it.
I wasn’t sure if my technique would work…so I saved half the batter and tried making muffins. They turned out great! I am adding this to my list of great things you can make with rye flour! If you’re not interested in going to the trouble of steaming in a can, it’s a quick way to get the flavors of old New England wafting out of your kitchen.
Because I was running short on time, I simply used Progresso clam chowder. That is probably sacreligious for any proper Bostonian reading this post! But I always try to keep in mind that not everyone has the time or interest to spend hours in the kitchen and I want to be sure if that is you and this looks good, this is one part of my creation where you can save some time.
My Indian pudding sticks are based on a recipe that originally appeared in An Olde Concord Christmas, a book printed by the Concord Museum. I found these referenced by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes. I added an egg to make them sturdier, a modern spice twist of masala chai, and some additional cooking steps to turn them into “sticks”.
- 3 cups of 1% milk
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/8 cup flour
- ¼ cup molasses
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons chai spice seasoning
- 1 cup of whole cranberries
- Maple syrup
1. Heat the milk and butter for 5 or 6 minutes on high heat in the microwave, until it is boiling, then transfer it to a pot on the stove. Keep hot on medium heat.
2 Preheat oven to 250°F.
3 In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, and salt; stir in molasses. Thin the mixture with about 1/2 cup of scalded milk, a few tablespoons at a time, then gradually add the mixture back to the large pot of scalded milk. Cook, stirring until thickened.
4. Temper the eggs by slowly adding a half cup of the hot milk cornmeal mixture to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture back in with the hot milk cornmeal mixture, stir to combine.
5 Add sugar, chai spice, and blueberries. Stir in the sugar and spices, until smooth.
6. Pour into a 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dish. Bake for 2 hours at 250°F.
7. Remove dish from oven. Cut pudding into fry-sized slices. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with a silicone sheet. Bake for a half hour. Flip “fries” and bake for another half hour.
8. Remove fries from oven and allow to cool. (This will take some time!) Drizzle with maple syrup just before serving.
The slider is built in this order:
- 1 slice brown bread
- 2 thin slices grilled apple
- 1 pan fried cod fillet
- Spoonful of clam chowder
- 1 slice brown bread
This was a very different recipe to work with. The Indian pudding recipe is based on a recipe from the Concord Museum back in Massachusetts. As you can see, it wasn’t made for modern convenient appliances. It was probably something Colonial moms made and set on the back of the stove to cook all day in preparation for dinner. And it made a lot! My ingredient list, except for the eggs, is cut completely in half from the original. It was something you made for a brood, hungry from a day doing physical chores.
A word about molasses, which is in both the brown bread and the Indian pudding. It is a byproduct of refining cane sugar, produced in the third round of stripping and boiling. It is also used in barbecue sauce, rye breads, gingerbread, and beer. It’s where all the nutrients end up when they are processed out of what ends up being sugar. Some health sites make claims that this is a health benefit, and a reason to eat molasses by the spoonful. Keep in mind, it’s still sugar, and it still has calories. I mostly used this because it was fun, and interesting. The flavor is a little more reminiscent of winter and the holidays, but I still enjoyed it.