1950s Archive

Viennese Memoir

The Betrothal

continued (page 2 of 3)

Fran Hofrat could not but give her blessings, though she sorrowed for the Hühner in Spinat Suppe, the Feinschmeker Salat, and the Eisbombe Romanoff that would in future be wasted in the provinces while she would have to make do with any young woman the newfangled employment agency sent her. Herr Gumprecht agreed to put off his wedding day until Lutz had safely departed on her own wedding trip to Paris. Frau Hofrat, in return, was so carried away that she rashly offered a small X-ray machine as a wedding present.

Overawed by this generosity, Teckla produced an edible Jause after the call, and Frau Hofrat managed to start a trousseau list that made it look as though she were equipping a small hotel rather than her daughter.

Lutz arrived in time to decide on featherbeds rather than comforters, button-on sheets rather than tuck-ins, square pillows rather than oblong., Alençon rather than Valencienne lace, and please, please, please, a toaster, a mixer, and a beater—und alles Elektrisch! She also chose squab chickens in cream for the intimate first Verlobung's dinner, paprika chicken for the distant relatives, and an Indian for the last dinner for the less intimate friends. Some people supposedly called Indians turkeys—a ludicrous idea when every child in Vienna knew they were Indians.

Herr Hofrat returned, sniffing, at five. Prepared for the worst, he was delighted to find the Hofrätin up and well, and the fumes of Kölnisch Wasser completely evaporated. After dinner he let Frau Hofrat read him the lists and begin schooling him in his duties as the goateed Vater von der Braut.

Hühner in Spinat Suppe (Chicken in Spinach Soup)

In a kettle place two 2-pound broilers with 4 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 3 sprigs of parsley, a sprig each of chervil and tarragon, 1/2 bay leaf. 2 peppercorns, and 2 quarts water. Cover the kettle and bring the water slowly to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook the chickens until they are tender, about 40 minutes. Skin the chickens, quarter them, and keep them hot. Strain 5 cups of the stock.

Wash 2 pounds spinach, free it of all coarse stems, and cook it in the water that clings to the leaves for about 6 minutes, or until it is soft. Drain it well and put it through a food chopper or sieve. Melt 2 tablespoons butter, blend in 2 tablespoons flour, and gradually add to the roux 1 cup of the warm chicken stock, stirring constantly. Cook the mixture, stirring, until it thickens. Add 4 cups chicken stock, the pureed spinach, and salt to taste. Beat 2 egg yolks into 1/2 cup warm heavy cream and stir them into the soup just before serving. Put a piece of chicken in each soup plate and pour in the hot spinach soup.

Zitronen Forelle (Lemon Trout)

In a saucepan combine 2/3 cup each of white wine and olive oil and 1/3 cup tarragon vinegar. Add I onion. thinly sliced, 2 shallots, sliced, 4 sprigs of parsley, 1/2 bay leaf, I teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 3 peppercorns and boil the marinade for 15 minutes. Strain it and let it cool.

Lay 6 trout, warmed to room temperature, in an oiled roasting pan. Pour the cooled marinade over the trout and add water just to cover. Cover the fish with oiled paper and simmer them very gently in a moderately hot oven (375 F.) for 15 minutes. For large trout, increase the cooking time, Let the trout cool in the liquid, then lift them carefully from the pan and remove the skin, leaving the heads and tails intact. Lay the trout on a serving platter, 1 1/2 inches apart. Coat the fish heavily with lemon mayonnaise, leaving the heads and tails exposed, and lay a line of fresh black caviar down the center of each trout. Use 2 tablespoons caviar for each fish. Surround the trout and border the platter with finely minced chicken aspic and garnish the platter with parsley and thinly sliced lemons.

Lerton Mayonnaise

Beat 2 egg yolks with a rotary beater. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, and the juice of 1 lemon and mix well. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil, drop by drop, beating constantly. then add 3/4 cup olive oil in a slow steady stream, beating until the mixture is well combined and thick. Add the grated zest of 2 lemons, 1/4 cup grated onion, and 3 sprigs each of parsley and dill, very finely minced, and blend well.


Simmer 2 cups chicken stock with 1 onion, sliced, for 10 minutes. Strain it and stir in, off the heat, 2 envelopes gelatin softened in 1/2 cup cold water. Cool the aspic, pour it into a shallow pan, and chill it in the refrigerator until it is set. Roll up the sheet of aspic and cut the roll crosswise, to make thin strips. Chop the strips into small cubes.

Poularde am Spiess (Spit-Roasted Stuffed Capon)

Wash, dry, salt and traste a 5 to 6 pound capon. Combine 1/2 pound mushrooms, 6 shallots, 6 peeled truffles, and 1/4 cup fresh parsley, all finely chopped, 3 slices of bacon cut in small dice, and the chopped giblets. Combine 1/2 cup each of beef stock and white wine, add the mushroom mixture, and simmer it until all the moisture is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste and bind the stuffing with 2 egg yolks. Rub the cavity of the bird with 2 tablespoons butter, fill it with the mushroom mixture, and skewer the opening. Place the bird on a rotisserie spit and roast it for 1 3/4 hours at high heat, until it is golden and crisp. Or roast the bird in a moderately slow oven (325° F.), basting it frequently with melted butter. Serve the capon with a mixed fruit compote and a salad.

Küken in Sahne (Squab Chickens with Egg Sauce)

Simmer 6 squab chickens, weighing 3/4 to 1 pound each, in beef stock to cover until they are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the skins and keep the chickens hot. Strain 1 cup of the cooking stock and add 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar, or more, to taste. The mixture should be slightly tart. In the top of a double boiler over boiling water, beat 6 egg yolks creamy. Gradually beat in the vinegar and stock mixture and then as much of another cup of strained stock as necessary to make a thick creamy sauce. Add salt to taste and 1/2 cup finely chopped chives. Pour the sauce over the hot chickens and cover them with paper-thin lemon slices dusted with minced parsley. Serve at once.

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