By Kevin Williams
I've had many Amish suppers over the years. Too many. Supper in an Amish home can be as simple as pizza or an elaborate homemade spread. The reality is most of the time when I have supper in an Amish home I am there as a guest as I'm sure most people reading this would be also. A supper for a guest may be a little bit more elaborate than everyday fare. But most Amish suppers, even among themselves, feature a variety of choices. Often a couple of meats to choose from, a couple of veggies, a plate of cheese, homemade bread, a canned relish or some sort. I mean, Amish suppers are amazing in their ability to be simple yet also encompass so much. Many Amish cooks have just a few "go to" recipes (and I'm sure many non-Amish are like that too) that make up the bulk of their family's meals. Interestingly, meals are generally (I've found this to the be the case whether I'm in an Amish home in Maine or Indiana) piled into a bowl, a wide bowl. So if you are someone who likes your corn separate from your green beans and don't like gravy running into your beets, well, you're probably not going to be thrilled. But if you can get past that, meals are often amazing.
Newcomers to this site may be surprised by some of the recipes below, but don't be. It's not surprising at all to find saltines and cream of mushroom soup in Amish cooking. There is the deep, rich Pennsylvania Dutch influence on Amish cooking, but then there is a heavy influence from the Great Depression and post-Great Depression period which saw the Amish incorporating "convenience foods" much more into their menus and that is what the selection of recipes below represents.
HOBO SUPPER: This is a classic throw together dish which likely has its origins during the lean post Great Depression years. Click here to enjoy.
WASHDAY CASSEROLE: This is another classic post-Great Depression dish...some Amish would use a homemade cream of mushroom soup, but this recipe has its roots in the post-Great Depression period too when many Amish were venturing into grocery stores and supermarkets for the first time and incorporating "convenience foods" like canned soup into older recipes like a "washday casserole." So this recipe is sort of a hybrid. Click here to enjoy.
POOR MAN'S STEAK: This recipe follows the same template as above, a short of post-Great Depression dish that incorporates cream of mushroom soup. And this particular recipe, whether it was invented by the Amish or not, has certainly been adopted by them. Poor Man's Steak seems especially popular among the Indiana Amish. Click here for the recipe.
YUMASETTI: Same as the above....classic post-Great Depression and if the Amish didn't invent this dish, they sure as heck have adopted it. Very popular in Amish homes (and my home!) Click here for the recipe!
AFTER CHURCH CASSEROLE: Another "dump and go" type casserole among the Amish. Very popular for after church. Click here for the recipe.
BEEF CHUNK CASSEROLE: You don't have to click to get this classic, check it out below! This recipe actually doesn't have any processed, packaged foods, just good old fashioned beef chunks which most Amish would get from their own steer.
- 1 pound canned beef chunks
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 slices of bread, cubed
- 1 /2 teaspoon salt
- 1 quart corn
- 1 cup grated cheese
- Place cooked meat in a baking dish.
- Beat eggs, milk, salt,and add broken up bread, corn, and onions.
- Pour on top of the meat.
- Melt butter and pour over top.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle cheese over all and bake until cheese melts.
SIMPLE BAKED CHICKEN
Just basic baked chicken is a wonderful dish to enjoy in an Amish home supper. This is from an Amish woman in Indiana and it's just written as a set of instructions:
Cut up a chicken. Melt 1 /2 cup of margarine and mix in a cup of lightly crushed Rice Krispies cereal. Roll chicken pieces in the Rice Krispie mixture. Sprinkle salt and pepper and seasoning salt on it. Bake in an oven at 350. for one hour until done.
4 slices of bread
2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 /4 teaspoon paprika
1 1 /2 cups milk
1 /2 pound of colby cheese
4 slices of bacon
Blend butter and mustard. Spread onto the bread slices and place in a casserole dish. Beat eggs, salt, and milk. Pour onto bread. Cut bacon into two inch pieces and lay on top. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 30 minutes in a 350 oven and serve at once.