Music

Favorite Recipes From Legendary Musicians We Lost Too Soon  

Melissa Sartore
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You may have thought about partying like your favorite rock stars to honor their legacies, but have you ever considered making their favorite recipe instead?

Many celebrities enjoy the finer things in life, food included. Others like to dine on foods that speak to their heritage and bring them comfort. When a well-known artist passes unexpectedly and leaves us with a sense of emptiness, trying one of their favorite recipes may help fill that void.

Whether doing the cooking themselves - something Johnny Cash and Peggy Lee were known to do - or having meals prepared for them like Bob Marley, the favorite recipes of some of music's greats can help you connect with them on a whole new level. However, you may need to take a trip to the local market for some ingredients first.

Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Favorite Recipes From Legendary Musicians We Lost Too Soon
Photo: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Arguably one of the most creative and talented musicians of all time, Freddie Mercury and his music entertained and inspired millions of people - and continues to do so. Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in 1946, Mercury never lost sight of his family's Parsi heritage nor his taste for traditional Indian food. Mercury's favorite was Chicken Dhansak, a dish that combined various spices and vegetables, meat, and lentils. 

Freddie Mercury's Chicken Dhansak

2 tablespoons of channa, moong, and red lentils
4 tablespoons toor lentils
½ cup oil
1½ pounds of cubed boneless chicken
3 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
2 cups tinned (canned/chopped) tomatoes
1 medium aubergine (eggplant) chopped
1 large potato chopped
½ cup spinach (frozen)
Fresh coriander
Fresh mint
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 brown cardamom
5 cm (2 inches) cassia bark
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
½ teaspoon chili powder
Salt

To begin, wash the lentils and soak them overnight. Afterward, cook the lentils while frying meat until it's brown. Once both the lentils and meat are ready, put them aside and combine the cumin, cardamom, cassia bark, and mustard with onions, garlic, and salt. After that mixture has browned, mix in tomatoes and other chopped vegetables before reincorporating the lentils. Add the meat and remaining spices, and cook for roughly 40 minutes before finishing off with mint and coriander. Chicken Dhansak is best served over plain boiled rice.

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John Denver is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Favorite Recipes From Legendary Musicians We Lost Too Soon
Photo: Hughes Television Network/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

John Denver's music was of the folk variety, especially his hits "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Rocky Mountain High," but one of his favorite foods had a decidedly international name. Denver enjoyed Flemish Apple Cake, a dessert made out of apples, flour, spices, and a hefty amount of butter.

John Denver's Flemish Apple Cake

2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¼ cup maple syrup
3½ cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup honey
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup sour cream or yogurt

After sauteing the apples, season them with nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt before adding the maple syrup. Set those aside and sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ginger. Cream the butter and honey before adding eggs and sour cream (or yogurt) to the mixture. Then, mix the wet and dry ingredients together before folding in the apples. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

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David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Favorite Recipes From Legendary Musicians We Lost Too Soon
Photo:  Lynn Goldsmith/Getty Images

David Bowie was no stranger to Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, where fellow musicians honored the eclectic rocker in January 2018. The similarly named Shepherd's Pie was also a staple in Bowie's life as one of his favorite dishes. Bowie's wife, model and entrepreneur Iman, cooked Shepherd's Pie for her husband and their family often. It was featured on the menu of a David Bowie-inspired restaurant in Japan, though that version featured chili beans and cheese. Traditional Shepherd's Pie includes a hearty mixture of meat and potatoes with vegetables.

David Bowie's Shepherd's Pie

¼ cup (65 mL) olive oil
1.1 lb (500 g) ground lamb (or ground beef if making cottage pie)
1 medium onion
2 medium carrots
2 sticks celery
2 cloves garlic
14.5 oz (411 g) can of chopped tomatoes
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable stock
6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small turnip
1 Bosc pear
5 medium Russet potatoes
5 Tbsp (75 mL) butter

Cook the lamb in oil over medium-high heat until brown, remove it from the heat, drain excess oil, and set aside. Dice vegetables and garlic, and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes. Combine the mixture with the lamb, adding tomatoes, stock, and Worcestershire sauce, as well as salt and pepper. Let the dish simmer for 20 minutes. Peel and chop the turnip, cover with water, bring to a boil for 12 minutes, drain. Place the chopped pear into a roasting pan and bake it with the whole, scrubbed potatoes for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Once the potatoes are cooked, cut them in half and remove the insides, mashing them and adding in the pear and turnip. Blend in the butter, and spread over the lamb and vegetable mixture that's been put into a casserole dish. Bake it for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees and increase the temperature to 425 degrees for the final 5 minutes, making sure it's golden brown on top. Variations on Shepherd's Pie may include capers, Madeira wine, and anchovies.

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Peggy Lee is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Favorite Recipes From Legendary Musicians We Lost Too Soon
Photo: Archive Photos/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in 1920, Peggy Lee was a pioneering female singer-songwriter during the mid-20th century. Lee also acted and entertained, often serving a salad, which may have been her own creation, called Jade Salad

Peggy Lee's Jade Salad

2 heads romaine lettuce
2 bunches green onions
1⅓ cups olive oil
⅔ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup sliced almonds

After washing and drying the lettuce, chop it into julienne strips, and put into a bowl. Mix the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, pepper, sugar, sesame seeds, and Parmasan cheese with chopped green onions and pour over the lettuce. Once tossed, sprinkle with almonds.

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