Jill Winger, creator of the award-winning blog The Prairie Homestead, introduces her debut The Prairie Homestead Cookbook, including 100+ delicious, wholesome recipes made with fresh ingredients to bring the flavors and spirit of homestead cooking to any kitchen table.
With a foreword by bestselling author Joel Salatin
The Pioneer Woman Cooks meets 100 Days of Real Food, on the Wyoming prairie. While Jill produces much of her own food on her Wyoming ranch, you don’t have to grow allor even anyof your own food to cook and eat like a homesteader. Jill teaches people how to make delicious traditional American comfort food recipes with whole ingredients and shows that you don’t have to use obscure items to enjoy this lifestyle. And as a busy mother of three, Jill knows how to make recipes easy and delicious for all ages.
"Jill takes you on an insightful and delicious journey of becoming a homesteader. This book is packed with so much easy to follow, practical, hands-on information about steps you can take towards integrating homesteading into your life. It is packed full of exciting and mouth-watering recipes and heartwarming stories of her unique adventure into homesteading. These recipes are ones I know I will be using regularly in my kitchen." - Eve Kilcher
These 109 recipes include her family’s favorites, with maple-glazed pork chops, butternut Alfredo pasta, and browned butter skillet corn. Jill also shares 17 bonus recipes for homemade sauces, salt rubs, sour cream, and the likestaples that many people are surprised to learn you can make yourself. Beyond these recipes, The Prairie Homestead Cookbook shares the tools and tips Jill has learned from life on the homestead, like how to churn your own butter, feed a family on a budget, and experience all the fulfilling satisfaction of a DIY lifestyle.
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About the Author
Jill Winger and her family pursue a lifestyle of modern-homesteading on the wide open prairies of Wyoming. They dabble in a variety of small-scale agricultural endeavors including organic gardening, grass-fed beef cattle, home dairying, poultry, and more.
Jill blogs at The Prairie Homestead where she encourages others to return to their roots, no matter where they live. Her blog was among the Top Traditional Food Bloggers at the 2017 BITAN Awards and the Top 10 Homestead Bloggers for From Scratch Magazine. She has been featured in HuffPost, BuzzFeed, and Fox News Magazine.
Her cookbooks include Natural Homestead: 40+ Recipes for Natural Critters & Crops and The Prairie Homestead Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Heritage Cooking in Any Kitchen.
Read an Excerpt
FARM & FAMILY FAVORITES
Get in your kitchens, buy unprocessed foods, turn off the TV, and prepare your own foods. This is liberating.
– JOEL SALATIN
Thick layers of nostalgia surround the notion of mornings on a farm. Blazing orange sunrises with streaks of pink, crowing roosters, steaming cups of black coffee, and plates loaded with bacon, homemade biscuits, and sunny-side-up eggs are usually the first images that drift through our imaginations.
However, our mornings on the homestead are more similar to the average household than you may think. Like most folks', our days kick off with plenty of hustle and bustle and even a measure of regular ol' chaos at times. While I love the idea of serving a full country breakfast with all the fixings to my family each and every morning, in reality that rarely happens. We aren't necessarily rushing out the door to make the morning commute or running the kids to the bus stop, but our farm mornings aren't as leisurely as I once imagined they'd be in my pre-homesteading days.
Sure, sometimes there are indeed those picture-perfect mornings where I pull on my boots before the rest of the house awakens and steal down to the barn to do chores by myself. The rooster crows with impeccable timing as I pass the coop and I hear the hens clucking as they sit in nesting boxes leaving their eggs for the kids to find later. The mingled perfume of animals, hay, and leather (the very best smell in the entire world, by the way) surrounds me as I enter the cinder-block barn and grab a halter from the hook on the wall. Our milk cow, Oakley, stands right inside the door slowly blinking her big brown eyes as she waits patiently to be milked. The swish of milk streams hitting the bucket lulls me into deep thought as I strategize how I'll tackle the day's tasks. By the time I stroll back to the house lugging my pail filled with frothy milk, I feel centered, energized, and ready to take on the day.
But there are also the mornings that aren't exactly Instagram or Facebook worthy, the ones that make you laugh, otherwise you'd cry. They go something like this: Upon waking to do chores, I discover the kids are already awake. Not one, not two, but all three, of course. "Mommy! We want to do chores with you!" they scream as I begin the process of hauling them outside, complete with blankies and pajama-clad feet jammed into cowboy boots.
Somehow I make it to the barn without losing a child, a sippy cup, or the milk bucket, only to discover someone left the middle gate open last night. This means that instead of standing patiently in the barn, Oakley is now standing in the corner of the south pasture, as far away as she can possibly be. Back to the house I go to grab the four-wheeler. I load the kids up and drive (very slowly) down to the corner to halter her and lead her back.
We arrive at the barn. Finally. I tie Oakley in her milking spot and throw her a pile of hay in hopes that it will appease her so I can milk quickly. Her udder is a mess from lying in the mud last night, so I jog back to the house to grab an extra washing towel — the first one I brought with me is caked with mud after the first wipe.
The kids harass the barn cats as I finally sit down to milk. This annoys the dog, who starts to bark, which in turn seriously offends Oakley. And so I alternate between dodging her swinging tail and her stomping hind foot as I squeeze the milk into the bucket. I deem the bucket full enough (the calf will drink the rest today) and we start our trek back. Upon the insistence of my brood of children, we make a brief stop at the chicken coop to collect three eggs, two of which meet an untimely demise on the concrete sidewalk on the way back to the house.
By the time we finally make it inside, I stop to catch my breath as I pick flecks of dried manure out of my hair. Is it time for coffee yet? Nope. Now it's time to make breakfast. And therein lies the true, though probably surprising, romance of a morning on the homestead. I enjoy the chaos in a weird way, although I most certainly appreciate the slightly quieter mornings too. Even by itself, homesteading can be overwhelming, but when you throw kids into the mix, well, it borders on sheer insanity. And yet, I love it. This is also why our breakfasts must be hearty and nourishing but not too fussy. By the time I make it back inside, the last thing I want is to be in the kitchen for two hours.
In this chapter, you'll find a mixture of classic farm breakfast fare as well as make-aheads and quick morning meals to help you start your day, regardless of whether your morning chaos is navigating traffic and the drop-off line at school or dealing with a persnickety cow and broken eggs.
Foraged Frittata with Potato Crust
The dandelions and I have officially called a truce. I used to give them death glares each spring when they'd arrogantly pop up all over the homestead, but now we have an agreement: you grow wherever you want and I'll turn you into this delicious frittata. I think it's working out well.
3 tablespoons lard (here) or unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
2 heaping cups foraged greens (dandelion greens, purslane, lamb's-quarter, or chickweed all work well)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon of the lard in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet (I use my cast-iron, of course).
Sauté the onion until soft, about 8 minutes, then add the greens and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the greens begin to wilt. Remove the greens from the skillet and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Sprinkle the potatoes with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lard to the skillet and fry the potatoes until they are softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Arrange the potatoes in a layer on the bottom of the skillet.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cheese, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then add the egg mixture to the greens, mixing until just combined.
Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the skillet, transfer to the oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
kitchen notes If you don't live in an area where you feel comfortable foraging for wild greens, trimmed spinach, kale, chard, or collards will also work beautifully in this frittata.
Baked Eggs with Cream & Chives
Chives and eggs have to be among the most perfect ingredient combos we grow here on the homestead. Eggs fresh from the coop and chives plucked from the herb garden outside the front door elevate this homey dish to a farm-fresh masterpiece. It's one of our early-summer staples when the hens have resumed their heavy laying and the wire basket on my countertop is overflowing with speckled brown eggs.
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 large eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Place the cream and butter in a 9 x 13–inch baking dish and heat in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the butter.
Crack the eggs directly into the hot pan. (Be careful not to break the yolks!) Combine the garlic, parsley, chives, salt, and pepper and sprinkle evenly over the eggs. Bake for 5 minutes, then switch the oven to broil and broil for 2 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still slightly runny.
Serve with a bit of crusty bread (such as leftover Crusty Dutch Oven Bread) or toast to sop up the yolk.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU WEEDS, EAT 'EM
Scouring your yard for edibles, formerly known as weeds, is extremely satisfying, not to mention strangely addictive. But before you serve up any foraged goodies, do your homework thoroughly to make sure you aren't accidentally eating something poisonous. County Extension Offices are fantastic local resources and will be glad to help you identify any plant you are unsure about. Also, only forage in areas you know have not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.
Farmer's Breakfast Hash
If I put this simple hash on the menu at just the right time in late summer, I can make it completely from ingredients grown right outside my back door: home-cured bacon from the pigs; potatoes, an onion, and a pepper provided by the garden; eggs laid by our multicolored hens; and chives grown in the herb patch. It also works beautifully with your favorite variety of sausage, just in case you don't have any bacon on hand. (And if you don't have bacon on hand, we really should have a talk about priorities.)
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
4 or 5 medium potatoes, cubed
1 small onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 large eggs Fresh chives, minced
In a 10-inch oven-safe skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until crispy. Remove the bacon, setting it aside on a paper towel to drain and leaving about 2 tablespoons of fat in the skillet.
Add the potatoes to the skillet and fry them over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the onion, bell pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the potatoes are golden brown, about 10 minutes more.
Stir in the bacon, taste, and add more salt if needed. Make shallow wells in the top of the hash and carefully break the eggs into the wells. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until the egg whites are beginning to set, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Broil on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the egg yolks are set to your liking (I personally like mine a bit runny). Sprinkle with fresh chives and serve immediately.
kitchen notes This recipe is incredibly forgiving, so play around with it as you see fit. You can bump up the amount of veggies, crack more eggs on top, or double the potatoes in a larger skillet. I usually make this in a 10-inch castiron skillet, but if you have smaller skillets, you can make personal-sized hashes in each one.
Crispy Hash Browns
Crispy homemade hash browns that don't turn into a gummy mess in the pan? It's a lofty request, but after making a million pans of soggy, sticky potatoes, I finally figured out how to fry up hash browns that will make your hometown diner jealous. Just a few tiny adjustments to the technique make all the difference. Get out the ketchup — you're gonna love this one.
3 or 4 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or lard (here)
Wash the potatoes and shred them using a box grater or a food processor fitted with a grating disc. I don't peel mine first, but you can if you like. Place the shredded potatoes in a colander and rinse them under cool water until the water runs clear.
Drain the potatoes completely; sometimes I even squeeze them with a clean dishtowel to remove as much water as possible. Season the shredded potatoes with the salt and pepper.
In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it sizzles when you place a potato shred in the pan. Add the potatoes, give them a quick stir, then pat them into an even layer. Now, this is the hard part — leave them alone to cook over medium-low heat. Yes, resist the urge to fuss over them. It's hard, I know. But it makes all the difference.
When the bottom of the potatoes has developed a crisp, brown crust, after around 8 to 10 minutes, flip them. I'm not quite talented enough to flip the entire bunch at once, so I do it in quarters. Cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are browned to your liking. Serve immediately with a side of ketchup.
kitchen notes Every stove top is different, so watch the pan closely the first time you make these. The goal is for the heat to be high enough to crisp up the potatoes, but not so hot that it burns the bottom before the middle has time to cook.
It's tempting to crowd the pan with more potatoes (because who doesn't want more potatoes?), but fight the temptation. In order to get that perfectly crispy finish, the hash browns need room to breathe.
For a complete country breakfast, serve your crispy hash browns alongside a pile of Eggs 'n' Greens (opposite) or Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage.
Eggs 'n' Greens
When it comes to buying farm animals or planting vegetables, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach. This means I'm usually dealing with a constant glut of eggs and greens in the spring and early summer. It's my own fault, but I can't seem to stop. Therefore, it's only natural to throw the abundance together with a bit of cheese, don't you think?
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion or leek, diced
3 cups packed roughly chopped stemmed chard, kale, spinach, or collard leaves
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup ricotta cheese (here)
In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Sauté the onion until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the greens and mushrooms and cook until the greens are wilted, about 3 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper, then add them to the greens in the hot skillet. Cook until the eggs are set but not dry, about 4 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat, crumble the ricotta over the top, and serve immediately.
Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage
makes three pounds
Savory sage and tangy mustard dance with a splash of sweet maple syrup to make this a recipe I turn to time and time again. Brown the sausage in bulk to add to Old-Fashioned Sausage Gravy or sandwich a patty between halved Sky-High Buttermilk Biscuits. Leftovers are never an issue when this sausage is on the menu. Make a double or triple batch and freeze the patties so they can easily be thrown in the frying pan on busy mornings.
3 pounds ground pork
1 small onion, finely minced
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
2 teaspoons ground mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. I use my hands to mix everything together — it's messy, but effective. For maximum impact, refrigerate the mixture for 1 to 2 hours so the flavors have a chance to mingle. But if you're in a hurry, there's nothing wrong with cooking it up right away.
To make patties, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on the counter. Place the sausage mixture on top and pat it to 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter or the rim of a drinking glass, cut the sausage into rounds. Or if you're in a hurry, you can make free-form patties in the palm of your hand.
In a skillet over medium heat, fry the patties until they are no longer pink in the middle, about 3–5 minutes per side.
kitchen notes To freeze, place squares of waxed paper between uncooked patties, stack them in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 4 months.
Combine 1 pound cooked sausage with Eggs 'n' Greens and wrap 1 cup of the combo in a warm tortilla (here) for a tasty breakfast burrito.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Prairie Homestead Cookbook"
Copyright © 2019 Jill Winger.
Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Joel Salatin viii
Introduction: Returning to Our Roots 1
Part 1 Recipes
Farm & Family Favorites 23
Country Breakfasts 24
Hearty Mains 52
Farm-Style Sides 110
Home Bakery 150
Old-Fashioned Sweets 182
Homestead Sips 214
Prairie Pantry Staples 234
Part 2 Homesteading
Growing Your Own Ingredients 271
Herbs & Veggies 278
Eggs, Milk & Meat 292
Stocking the Larder 329
A Final Word 345