soup & stew recipes: mulligan stew
They come from every walk of life. They represent a multitude of ethnicities. They are the men and women who don’t know what the words “I can’t” or “I quit” mean. They are called Jar Heads, Leatherneck and Devil Dogs. They are United States Marines. They have been described by many, but I think that Rear Admiral Stark’s assessment is about as accurate as they come: “Marines I see as two breeds; Rottweiler or Doberman, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean or skinny and mean. They’re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.”
“America’s 911 Force”, The United States Marine Corps is who our nation turns to in times of need. Marines are America’s premier expeditionary force, mobilizing with speed on the ground, in the air and by sea. For 236 years Marines have sprung into action, putting themselves in harm’s way, suffering through hardships and adversity because they chose to serve their country. They are bound by the words honor, commitment and integrity, yet it is their ability to overcome the harsh environs of combat and achieve success that truly binds them together.
Today, Thursday, November 10, 2011 is the 236th anniversary of the Marine Corps or, rather, it is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. It was on November 10, 1775, that the fledgling Naval Committee was directed by Congress to raise two marine battalions. The Continental Marines were founded to conduct ship-to-ship fighting, provide shipboard security and discipline enforcement, and assist in landing forces for the newly established Navy.
The two battalions of Continental Marines officially came to be when Congress issued the first commission to Captain Samuel Nicholas on November 28, 1775. Nicholas’ family was tavern keepers. Some historians suggest that it is most likely Nicholas was using his family tavern, the “Conestoga Waggon” as a recruiting post although the most widely held belief is that the first recruiting post was the Tun Tavern located in Philadelphia.
The Tun Tavern no longer stands, however a small, operating “Tun Tavern”, with a very knowledgeable barkeep is a part of the Marine Corps Museum located in Quantico, VA. This museum is well worth a visit should you be in the vicinity. Extremely well planned and beautifully designed, this museum does justice to and honors the men and women who have served in the United States Marine Corps.
As the wife of a Marine I know the sacrifice every man and woman makes in order to proudly wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor insignia. For the last 20 years I have had the privilege to see the USMC from a relatively close vantage point. I am humbled by their courage, tenacity and commitment. I honor them for allowing me to go to bed each night, knowing that they are there ready to spring into action to defend me, my family, my fellow Americans.
To all Marines from the youngest to the oldest, to those who are training to become Marines to those who still call themselves Marine, but no longer wear the uniform, from the depths of my heart, I wish you a Happy Birthday!
In honor of the first “recruit center”, the Tun Tavern, I have prepared a colonial era stew that is still popular today. It was probably made with whatever was available given the frugality and limitations of the times, but the basic recipe is the same. It is savory, comforting food that nourishes and warms the body. I can picture it being served in a colonial tavern along with good hearty ale and rustic bread as Samuel Nicholas sat at a table taking the names of the original “Continental Marines”
MULLIGAN STEW (The changes I made are italized.)
½ cup each of diced onions, carrots, celery, and turnip; I use a white turnip as it is a bit sweeter
4 potatoes quartered; I used a variety of fingerlings
Add to 1/8 lb salt pork, Omitted
2 pounds venison, lamb or beef cut in small pieces
2 pints of water
teaspoon salt and ¼ tsp. Pepper
Dumplings to taste, Omitted
Cornstarch, 2 tablespoons
1. In a Crockpot, turned on high, place the venison, lamb or beef. Move around with a fork and begin heating through as you are dicing the vegetables.
2. Dice the onions, carrots, celery and turnip
3. Add the water to the crock pot and then add the vegetables.
4. Season with salt and pepper
5. Set the Crockpot on low and cook for 6 hours.
6. About an hour before serving add the cornstarch. To do this without lumps remove a ladle of broth, pour into a bowl with the cornstarch and mix vigorously until there are no lumps. Add the mixture into the Crockpot and mix thoroughly.
Note: The dumplings were omitted because I made thick gravy with the cornstarch and served the stew with dinner rolls. If you are making the stew with dumplings I recommend omitting the cornstarch and adding the dumplings in the last 15 minutes before serving.