LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Halloween is best known as a time to dress up in funny fanciful costumes, trick or treat, and carve a pumpkin or two.

Cloverfield Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle wants to make sure you have all the haunting recipes you need for your Halloween festivities. Try a rat tail stew, which uses strips of pork loin to give it a ghoulish look.

It is interesting to learn that Halloween is steeped in history with ancient roots in Druid and Celtic rituals, primarily Samhaim or “Summers’ Ending,” the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Pagan Celts believed the walls between here and the other side came down for an evening and the souls of the dead walked among the living. On All Souls Day, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them cookies called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.

The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling” is believed to have given way to the modern “trick or treating.”

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween followed European and Celtic roots and traditions. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the Earthly world, people thought they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. Many believed if they disguised themselves with masks and capes, they would be spared the pranks of roaming spirits. Families carved out turnips and lit them with candles to ward off witches.

When Scottish and Irish immigrants came to the U.S. they brought these traditions with them. The turnip was traded for the pumpkin. Candy became the treat instead of soul cakes. The feast of Pomona was around the same time as Samhaim and a traditional game was apple bobbing. This game also came over to the U.S., including a variation called Apple Snapping; an apple suspended on a stick by a string while a child tries to snap at it. 

Halloween isn’t just a single night of mischief and merrymaking, but a series of celebrations that came together to form the modern day Halloween. Fun starts for many of us with a meal that features dishes with ghoulish names to delight the children, and even the adults.

Rat Tail Stew

Serves:  4-6


4 TB vegetable oil, divided

6 TB unsalted butter, divided

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 lb boneless pork loin, cut into 3” - 4” lengths as thin as 1/8” -1/4” 

1-1/2 cups chopped onion

2 cups sliced mushrooms 

3 TB all purpose flour

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup apple cider, or water

1/2 cup dry white wine, optional

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/43 cup halved pimento stuffed green olives

1 TB dijon mustard

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup half and half, or heavy cream


Heat 2 TB oil, and 2 TB butter in a heavy 10” sauté pan over medium high heat. Season pork strips with salt, and pepper. Add half of the pork strips to pan, and sauté until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate while sautéing remaining pork strips. Once cooked, transfer pork strips to plate. 

Heat remaining oil, and butter in sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onion, and mushrooms. Saute until onions are translucent, and mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth, cider, and wine.

Stir in tomatoes, olives, mustard, and worcestershire sauce. Simmer mixture to reduce sauce to a thicker more gravy-like consistency. Add reserved pork strips, and any accumulated liquid to pan. Cook to reheat, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in half and half.

Serve over cooked rice, egg noodles, or mashed potatoes.


To get a complimentary copy of the recipes featured, just email Janine Washle at cloverfields.farm.ky@gmail.com.

Janine Washle's CloverFields Farm & Kitchen
Hardin Springs Area
Big Clifty, KY 42712

Connect with Janine and Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on the website, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest.

About Janine Washle: 

CloverFields Farm & Kitchen is primarily an on-line destination. It is not open to drop-in visitors as it is a private residence.

CloverFields Kitchen researches and re-creates many traditional recipes using local produce, much from its own gardens, and adding a global perspective.

Janine is working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes.

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