Recipes from The Uneven Road

Wampanoag Burial Ground ChappaquiddickAt the summer gathering of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag, food was an important part of the celebration. Josiah, on his way to find his grandmother’s umbrella, can’t help noticing the heavily laden trestle tables.

“. . . he saw loaves of corn and cranberry bread; platters of chicken and burgers and corn on the cob; pots of sobaheg, the turkey stew Naomi had made the day before, simmering it for hours till the meat fell off the bones. His mother’s pies, blueberry, apple and strawberry rhubarb, were at the far end, already sliced and waiting.”

NAOMI’S SOBAHEG (Adapted from the Plimoth Plantation recipe)

1/2 pound dry beans (white, red, brown or spotted kidney-shaped beans)
1/2 pound white hominy corn or yellow samp or coarse grits
1 pound turkey meat (legs or breast, with bone and skin)
3 quarts cold water
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch-lengths
1/2 pound winter squash, trimmed and cubed
1/2 cup raw sunflower seed meats, pounded to a course flour (or pounded walnuts)
I medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Clam juice or salt to taste (optional)

Combine dried beans, corn, turkey, seasonings and water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, turn down to a very low simmer, and cook for about 2 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally to be certain bottom is not sticking.

When dried beans are tender, but not mushy, break up turkey meat, removing skin and bones. Add green beans and squash, and simmer very gently until they are tender.

Add sunflower or nut flour, stirring until thoroughly blended.

CORN BREAD  (from Time Changes by Jonnie Anderson and Vivian Jones)
¼ cup flour
¾ cup plain cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons solid shortening
1 egg
¾ cup milk
1 ½ tablespoons solid shortening for pan

Put the shortening in the pan and place in hot oven while you mix the batter.

Mix dry ingredients, cut in 1 ½ tablespoon shortening, add egg and milk.

Mix lightly. Pour batter into hot pan and bake 15-20 minutes at 450º.

Serves four.

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