A pot roast is not an easy thing to eat on a tube platform so we changed the formula a bit for the Groucho Marx stop on The Great Bear Project.
On the day before our Groucho lunch, I jumped off the bus in Tufnell Park and purchased a big lump of brisket from that emporium of deliciousness Meat NW5.
As I have mentioned before, the butchers in there are very pleasing on the eye so it’s never a chore to nip in there. Plus, they were playing ELO which made me very happy indeed.
On the way back to my place I hopped off at Highgate and presented the brisket to the roundel as is now the tradition. I felt as though my meat was being blessed by the spirit of Highgate so I knew it was going to be good.
Our guest for lunch was Marx Brothers expert Mark Brisenden. Here we are with Greg Swenson’s fab book Recipe for Rebels. We both have a copy and we both love it.
Talk flowed freely (especially after several beers and four bottles of wine between three) and was very much about the Brothers. I got out the book which features Groucho’s pot roast recipe to get Mark’s thoughts on the Jocko Marx mystery.
The book is called Famous Recipes by Famous People and it was published in 1933. There are 9 Marx Brothers recipes in this book, but the way some have been attributed is a mystery. Groucho has two entries. The German Pot Roast and Matzo Balls (which I’ve written about several times, including here where you will also find Groucho’s favourite Date and Pecan Pie recipe).
Harpo Marx contributed a recipe for Patlijan Boereg which is an aubergine dish.
Two recipes have a mysterious line in place of the name of the brother, so the mysterious ________________ Marx is responsible for Salzburger Nockeln and Sourbraten.
Last but not least, Farina Dumplings and Herring Potatoes are attributed to Jocko Marx. This is the biggest mystery, discussed some time ago in this post. There was no Jocko Marx.
After much discussion between the three of us, we came to the conclusion that this was a typo on the part of the book’s compilers. Probably should have been Chico or Zeppo. And the brother just identified with a line? The other of the two maybe? It’s one of life’s great mysteries and a fun one to contemplate as we ate our way through large helpings of Groucho’s delicious Pot Roast. Perhaps whoever sent the recipes into the Cook Printing Co had dreadful handwriting and the compilers gave up trying to work out who was who?
Whatever! If you are a fan of Groucho (and who in their right mind isn’t?) I heartily recommend his pot roast.
So easy to bung together and cook. I made this the day before in my slow cooker – 6 hours on high. I bunged it in the fridge overnight then took all the fat off the top with a slotted spoon (I learned this from Smitten Kitchen when I made her GLORIOUS Holiday Brisket) then reheated it slowly for about an hour as Mr R was doing the roast spuds, carrots and parsnips.
There was a LOT of the lovely sauce left so I used that as the base for some Phyllis Diller’s Garbage Soup.
So here is Groucho’s recipe for those who fancy making it.
Mr Rathbone’s Station Factoids
Imagine taking a train from Highgate station to Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Finsbury Park, Edgware, Alexandra Palace or even Elstree? All this would have been possible had the second world war not intervened and left the Underground’s ambitious ‘Northern Heights’ project unfinished. Indeed, this station would have been an important junction very much like Camden Town is today, if large sections of the project hadn’t been left abandoned.
(note the lines in red would have been part of the Northern Line)
The station was first opened in 1867 on the route from Finsbury Park to Edgware. It was deep in a cutting at the eastern foot of Highgate hill, some distance from the village it was named after. The original station layout can be seen below c.1870s, in a then semi-rural setting. The building top left is the Woodman pub, later rebuilt but still in situ today.
In the 1880s the outer platforms were replaced by a central platform, seen below as it appears in more recent times…
The station we know today is beneath this original ‘high level’ stop. London Transport extended their Northern Line branch from Archway (then known as ‘Highgate’ just to confuse matters!) right underneath this old station site and then onwards and upwards till it emerged south of East Finchley station and joined the original line from the old Highgate station on what is now known as the ‘High Barnet Branch’.
The branches to Alexandra Palace, Finsbury Park and much of the branch to Edgware (beyond Mill Hill East) never did become part of the Northern Line (even though they appeared on tube maps as ‘under construction’ right up until the early 1950s) and the extension to Bushey was never built. But the ghostly remains of the original Highgate station are still visible to the sharp eyed today, a reminder of what might have been.
THANK-YOU MR RATHBONE, that was most instructive! As I live in Muswell Hill, Highgate is my nearest tube station so it is close to my heart. There is an intention to add “the ghost branch” of Muswell Hill, Cranley Gardens, Crouch End and Alexandra Palace once we’ve ticked all of the other Great Bear Northern Line stations off the list. Only 42 to go! Next up is Sean “You call this archaeology Junior?!” Connery.
And a delightful afternoon it was 4 bottles ! Good job I lost count after the 3rd . It was a very delicious Pot Roast, an excellent Sunday dinner choice . I will be cooking it myself one day if I can stop cooking chili fro five minutes ! xx
Haha – but you are the KING OF CHILI Mark, as you proved on Sunday! A write up about your most excellent Chasen’s Chilli will be coming soon. Had some of your lovely garilc bread with some very strange Tessie O’Shea celery soup last night. Report on that coming soon too…
Cooked this boxing day for my Mum, sister and her partner . A great success, they loved it. My sister is going to cook it for her kids and g/kids now and we have a new Boxing Day tradition ! I cooked it in a heavy casserole dish at 150 for three hours and it came out perfectly. I sieved the tomato gravy to get rid of some fat and then thickened it with a bit of horseradish sauce from a jar and added some Lea and Perrins. Served with green beans, roasties and kale ! Delicious. Hooray for Capt. Spaulding
Oh how fabulous! Soooooo pleased that it was enjoyed by all and Hooray for Capt. Spaulding indeed! I love it when a new tradition is created, especially around Christmas. I’m trying to find time to make my own personal tradition for this time of year – Roland Young’s Rissoles. Mmmmm – lovely!
Was just reading the grace kelly when I saw this again ! How I want to do this again ! Was planning to do at Xmas at my Mums again, but she was not well and we had to cancel Boxing Day plans for family coming over. And with her appetite not great for a few days, it was just me alone with a mountain of ham and a huge pallet of left over turkey delivered by nephew for what was supposed to be at least eight people ! So basically had ham and eggs for brekkie, club sandwiches for lunch and turkey and chips for dinner over and over until I was seeing it in my sleep, whilst getting my Mum what she could handle as she rested up . She’s fine again, but how I pine for Groucho’s pot roast now !
Aww Mark, there is a cold snap on the way so I think you should treat yourself to a GM Pot Roast, you could do all kinds of magical things with the leftovers. Sorry your mum has been unwell and glad she is feeling better xxx
PS – next time you have lots of ham and turkey around the place I highly recommend Roland Young’s Rissoles! I have a whole package of pigs in blankets, stuffing, turkey and ham from Christmas with my mum waiting in the freezer to be rissoled! Jx
Yes I must investigate rissoles again. My mum made them often when we were kids . I loved them.
Rissoles are ACE!