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The eccentric old wizard Radagast the Brown is the Middle-earth version of St Francis of Assisi! The animals of the forest come to his home for refuge and healing. His magic potions sometimes even bring them back from the brink of death! He is even able to communicate with some of them using the Westron language – most notably his prized Rhosgobel rabbits.Everyone knows rabbits are swift of foot, but this breed of rabbit is even faster than usual, and much bigger – up to two feet long not counting the legs! So it only makes sense that they would work wonderfully to pull a wizard’s sleigh! Able to dart quickly in new directions to evade enemies such as giant spiders, bats, wargs, and grissly orcs, they are excellent at creating a diversion so a company of dwarves, a hobbit, and a wizard can escape into the caves that lead to Rivendell! It may seem improbable that a team of rabbits can perform such feats, but, when Gandalf suggested the wargs and orcs would over power them, Radagast defiantly replied, “These are no ordinary rabbits! These are Rhosgobel Rabbits! LET THEM TRY!”
As a point of clarification, please note that this is not a Middle-earth Recipe from the “LOTR Scrapbook” site but is a creation of my own, and the suggestion for the name of the dish came from my husband.
Radagast’s Rhosgobel Rabbit Sausage Sauté
6 large sausages
1 large sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, smashed (more if you really like garlic)
2 large fresh tomatoes, diced (or canned if not in season)
Fresh ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper
White rice, prepared in advance
Obtain a package of six large sausages of your liking from the local market – chicken, pork, or turkey. They come with a variety of seasonings these days!
Grill the sausages, preferably over a flame, but a cast iron skillet works well indoors too.
While sausages are grilling, slice or dice the onions and tomatoes. Remove the sausages from the grill and cut them into one inch rounds.
Heat a large heavy skillet to medium high and add two tablespoons of olive oil and the smashed garlic. Stir it quickly so the garlic doesn’t burn, then add the sausage pieces. Immediately add the white wine and let it cook off a bit, stirring the sausage a couple of times. You’re just keeping the meat warm and letting it soak up the flavors.
Turn down the heat to medium and push the sausage to the side of the skillet and add the onions, salt and pepper, sautéing until nicely browned and translucent. Then add the tomatoes and stir all of the ingredients together, cooking another 2 minutes or so.
If you like cheese with your “rabbit” consider adding fresh ricotta cheese in serving spoon-size portions around the top and let it melt into the mixture for a few minutes.
Serve over steamed white rice, noodles, or potatoes! You might also add sauteed mushrooms or peppers to this dish.
This post, which has been a long time coming since my last one, is in honor of the milestone of more than 50,000 site views! Thanks for noticing!
The desolation of Smaug is indeed cause for celebration as the old worm lies dead amid the smoldering ruins of Esgaroth. The burglar Bilbo Baggins proved his quality to the once doubting company of Dwarves by outwitting the Dragon and discovering his weakness — an unprotected patch under his left breast. Fatally pierced by the Bowman’s arrow, the treasure of Erebor was restored to its rightful owners. The Dwarves had their revenge at last!
While news of the dragon’s demise spread, it was fitting for the thirteen dwarves and their burglar to celebrate. With the city in ruins, the celebration would be sparse. But our dear Hobbit is nothing if not resourceful, and also very fond of parties. He rallied the younger Dwarves Kili and Fili and off they went on another mission — this time to look for provisions for the party amid the ruins of the town. Kili and Fili wished there might be more than roasted coneys on the menu — they talked of the sweet seedcakes that were part of every Dwarf family celebration. Because of his heroism, the townsfolk took pity upon Bilbo and offered him what little they could find left of their provisions. He inquired whether there might be any ingredients to bake a tasety treat, as they had been on their journey for a very long time and he was yearning for some of the comforts of his home back in the Shire. One of the dear old women of the city brought him to the rubble that had been her home and offered whatever he might find there. As luck would have it, Bilbo managed to scrounge up a bit of this and a dab of that and unearthed a few pots while he was at it. Kili and Fili came running — Kili was carrying a goat and Fili had a chicken in one hand and two eggs in the other! It seemed like their wish would be granted as they watched Bilbo work his magic, though there would not be enough to share with all the rest. After baking it on the open fire Bilbo cut it into four sections — not three. Kili and Fili protested that if he cut the cake into three pieces they would each have more. But Bilbo had another plan. Taking his slice and the fourth with it, he led the young Dwarves back to the camp with Kili and Fili protesting the whole distance. But once they arrived, they witnessed the legendary Hobbit hospitality as Bilbo offered the fourth piece to Thorin, their leader. If anyone else should enjoy this sweet revenge, it was he.
“Seedcake for Gimli” The recipe is a bit like a scone in a pan. In my version I substituted Chia seeds. I’d been wondering what to do with them and I don’t care for caraway which is in the original! I also added a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the wet ingredients before adding the dry. I baked mine in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. I cannot vouch for the recipe’s 45 minute cooking time because my oven is not heating properly, but at 350 degrees in my oven I only needed 20 minutes but that could be due to the cast iron. Definitely use the middle rack as suggested so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. I am not sure if the recipe is meant to be slightly thinner than a biscuit dough, then it would have taken longer. The only other thing I did differently is not sift the flour. Give it a try! I’m going to have it for breakfast with a bit of yogurt!
Back in the finer days, before orcs and cave trolls ravaged the great city of Dwarrowdelf, Balin’s kin would gather for his legendary feasts, which always included his famous Spiced Beef. Now the dwarven people, as we well know, are a rather proud folk; prone to boasting and very fond of contests to demonstrate their prowess. Games of one-ups-man-ship between best mates were a daily occurrence.
And so, on the mornings before Balin’s gatherings, it was customary for the elder dwarf to summon a few of the younger dwarves and challenge them with the question, “which of you lads has the sharpest axe, the best aim, and the strongest arm?”
As each one roared, “I DO!,” they snapped to attention, fixing their eyes on Balin’s eyes, planting feet firmly in the soil and crossing their arms over puffed-out chests. “Well, then,” Balin continued, “it seems as though we have a stalemate – each of you believes he is the best, but only one can be the champion. We will have a contest. I plan a feast for tomorrow, and we are short on game. Go out to the hunt, and bring us back a prize. The first one to return before nightfall with the largest kill shall be the champion.”
As the young dwarves ran to gather their weapons, Balin would turn to his best huntsmen and, with a wink and a nod from him, the men set about the task of butchering the game they had caught before that morning’s sunrise. Even if the lads managed to bring back a fox or a few rabbits, let alone a buck, it wouldn’t be enough to fill this hearty and hungry lot. And it would take hours for the meat to slowly roast until it fell cleanly off the bone. They would have the day to get at least the first course ready to eat.
The young champion had the honor of being seated next to Balin at the feast, his contribution to the meal now roasted to perfection. The first bite was Balin’s, who would proclaim that it was the most delicious of all the choices laid out before them. The cousins and brothers, mothers and sisters, grandmothers and other elders of the company would then cheer the young hunter and dig into the feast. Strong drink flowed and merry songs of conquests were sung with great gusto.
Torches were lit from the fire and families slowly went off to sleep, filled not just with food, but the hospitality of their friend and elder, Balin, who was greatly esteemed by all who knew him.
This is a very delicious recipe that works well in a crock pot but for authenticity why not try a cast iron dutch oven if you can find one. Add vegetables to make it a stew if you like, and soak up the juices with a crusty garlic bread! We also suggest shredding the cooked beef for sandwiches to stave off your hunger while you watch the Oscars to see how The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was honored.
Women as far back as the Third Age have known the secret that most men have yet to comprehend. The greatest aphrodisiac is a man who can cook. Especially one who cooks well and often!
First Couple of The Shire and the parents of thirteen children, our dear Rosie and Sam might have kept the romance in their lives by cooking together. Rosie’s Shire Pie is pure comfort food and if this dish is any indication of traditional Hobbit fare it is no wonder why these folk can be a bit on the portly side. There is enough butter in the cornmeal crust to cause a heart attack in one sitting! Perhaps Sam would have lived beyond his 102 years if Rosie had known about low-fat cooking. But there is no substitute for a butter-laden recipe because that is what puts the “comfort” in comfort food.
If Rosie were a modern woman she might have welcomed some of our time-saving techniques in the kitchen. Arriving home from her job as manager of the Green Dragon she sets straight away to preparing dinner for fifteen. Since Sam works from home, he has done much of the prep work (lucky Rosie! – wait, lucky SAM!) yet a gaggle of little Hobbits hangs on her ankles and clamors for her attention. Modern Rosie might do what this cook did – open up a can of cream of mushroom soup for the sauce. That saves just enough cooking time to let you plant a big kiss on the cheeks of each little Gamgee, pat them on the bottoms and send them off to set the table!
Cooking notes: With the unused dough I cut out acorn shapes with a cookie cutter and put them back in the fridge while the pie was baking to keep the butter firm. Then I baked the acorns for 15 minutes in the 375 degree oven. I was going to make crackers out of them but they are so flakey they don’t hold up to that purpose. So I plan to freeze them to put on top of the next Shire Pie because this is a very rich dish before you add the buttery crust. If making from fresh dough I’d still cut them out and space them evenly around the top but with at least an inch between each one.
In the interest of full disclosure, the recipe depicted has green beans and corn added, which is not in Rosie’s original. I used a large square casserole instead of a pie pan and the crust took a bit longer than 30 minutes to brown up and get flakey – check your oven and adjust accordingly. There wasn’t enough sauce in my recipe using just one can of mushroom soup so it was dry. Next time I will add more milk or take time to do the sauce as stated in the recipe.
This crust will be a staple for me – the texture of the cornmeal gives it a nice touch and it is as flakey as any puff pastry you have ever eaten! I envision a cutout piece of it on top of baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows. You might be able to put a dollop of soft whipped cream cheese and chives on top of them and serve as appetizers. I’ll have to experiment some more and tell you how things turn out!
I recently tried the recipe again and switched the amount listed for flour and cornmeal. The original calls for a greater amount of cornmeal than flour. Switching it to more flour than cornmeal made a firmer crust. And it also made some nice crackers with the leftover dough which I confess to eating not a little of before it was baked!
Second Breakfast is served!
Follow the link to the recipe for Breakfast Scones for Mr. Frodo! This recipe lends itself to any number of variations. I used plain greek yogurt instead of strawberry but only had a 6 oz container, so I added home-made ricotta cheese to make up the other 2 ounces. The triangle-shaped version uses dried figs, and the square has only fresh ground cardamom seeds. After feasting on these for a day or so I encountered an orange scone at Panera Bread and decided to do a comparison test. This recipe was equal to the bakery’s in flakiness and flavor! (Note: After trying this recipe several times I have found it to be a bit heavier product than most bakery scones. You might try adding one egg, or switching from yogurt to 3/4 cup of cream to improve the flakiness.)
I presume that either Sam or Rosie prepared these for their dear friend and host Frodo, or perhaps they began to affectionately refer to their son, his namesake, as Mr. Frodo! Either way, the sweet smell of these scones baking would be the best way to call the family to table for first or second breakfast!
This was my first time using cardamom. Wow! SO flavorful. Definitely citrusy. A bit tedious to remove tiny black seeds from the papery pod without leaving “chaff” behind, but the ground variety do not have nearly as much flavor. This spice is expensive but a little goes a long way! My secret? Penn Mac in Pittsburgh’s Strip District has 2 oz samplers for only 99 cents!