By Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Now we come to Bamfurlong, which belongs to Famer Maggot and his family. The farm is guarded by some vicious canines named Grip, Fang, and Wolf. Here, the hobbits are treated to a bustling dinner for fourteen. Tolkien writes, “a generous supper was laid on the large table. […] There was beer in plenty, and a mighty dish of mushrooms and bacon, besides much other solid farmhouse fare.” After this meal, Maggot gives the hobbits a ride to Bucklebury Ferry on his cart and Merry joins them. Now the four original members of the soon-to-be-called Fellowship are together; they will proceed east and discover various troubles along the way.
Do you need to feed fourteen hobbits? Then perhaps you should quadruple this recipe and buy some enormous skillets.
This is actually the first hobbit dish I ever invented. To me, it really captures the essence of “hobbit cuisine.” Yes, it is heavy on the bacon, but you wouldn’t eat it every day, would you? Serve a big salad with it, or pair it with one of your own favorite hot vegetable dishes.
“Maggot’s Mighty Bacon Mushroom Dish”
1 quart plus 2 tablespoons water
1 pound potatoes, cut into ¾” chunks (peel them or not; it depends on your potato variety)
¾ pound premium bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat
1 tablespoon salted butter
About 1½ cups onion, cut into ¼” slivers
½ pound fresh mushrooms, (whole buttons or cut into ¼” slices or halves)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
In a 5-quart deep skillet, combine the 1 quart water and the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain; don’t bother washing pan. In the same skillet, fry the bacon until it is thoroughly cooked, but still rather chewy, not too crispy. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat and place bacon on paper towels. Discard or reserve the remaining fat for other uses (again, don’t bother washing pan). Add the bacon fat and butter to the pan and melt over high heat. Add the onions and potatoes and fry over high heat, stirring frequently, until the potatoes start browning at the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry another 2 minutes over high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Uncover, add salt and pepper, and continue cooking over high heat until most of the liquid evaporates, another 1-2 minutes. Mix in the bacon and serve. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Serves 4.
This is known as “Hild’s Mushroom Bacon Dish of MIght” in my cookbook.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is now available from Oloris Publishing and Amazon! For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband. Visit her website for more information: Astrid Tuttle Winegar | Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. Staff Reporter.