|Fig.1. Oscar and Edith Quintal, circa 1942.|
|Fig.2. Oscar's Smoke House, circa today.|
Oscar’s Adirondack Smoke House is located in Warrensburg, Upstate New York, (about one hour south of Plattsburgh.) Oscar’s is the type of small town shop so easy to fall in love with. Opened since 1943, they have meat and most of it is smoked. In fact, smoke is the first discernible odour inhaled when parking your car. Like June Cleaver, it kisses you gently as you walk to the door and enthrals your senses upon entering it. Smoked hams, beef jerky, (one of my favourites) bacon, ribs, cured meats and oh so many types of smoked sausages. Apart from meat, Oscar’s also smokes fish and cheese.
Oscar’s is a storied place. It burned down twice: once in 1945, and again in 2009. The image of a smoke house burning down, its floors and walls engulfed in flame, lends a poetic allegory to Oscar’s legacy: the building itself born and forged of veritable smoke. It’s ancestral walls now a foundation of ash from which more smoke is created. The foodstuffs that Oscar’s creates is a by-product of its past and its nature: it smokes, therefore it is.
It’s not easy for me to shop there-I’m like a kid in a candy store. The lack of quality, smoked goods in Montreal makes me want to take all of Oscar’s meats home, and that might not go well at the border. The next time your driving back from New York I strongly suggest you make a stop at Oscar’s Adirondack Smoke House.
|Fig.3. Winter goodness.|
Lentil, Split Yellow Pea, And Smoked Sausage Stew
This dish will taste better if you use smoked sausages. You can make it with regular Italian sausages, but a smoky taste will give it a ‘gumbo-like’ feel. It can be made with smoked meat and/or chorizo if you don’t have smoked sausages.
|Fig.4. Smoked Andouille et al from Oscar's.|
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onions, chopped
4 strips smoked bacon
4 to 5 small potatoes, diced (or 2 larger potatoes)
1-796ml can plum tomatoes
1 cup green lentils
½ split yellow peas
5 cups chicken stock
8 pieces of assorted, smoked sausages. (I used smoked Andouille and bratwurst from Oscar’s. Chorizo would work as well.)
|Fig.5. Ingredients at the ready|
Heat the olive oil in a pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the onions, bacon and potatoes. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Let the stew simmer semi-covered for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Once the lentils and yellow peas are tender, salt and pepper to your liking and serve. This dish is better if made the day before.
|Fig.6. After 1 1/2 hours of simmering|
Oscar's Smoke House: 22 Raymond Ln, Warrensburg, NY 12885, United States