a sunset at sea in middling weather

 

 

NOTE! There are two recipes on this page.

It’s BUSTER Season! The lobsters are busting out of their old shells and developing new ones, which is both a fascinating process and the time of year when they are least expensive where I live.
Some people prefer to purchase hardshell lobster, the ones still in their old shells. The firmer meat makes this a wise choice, but I chose softshells, those already moulted, for their more tender meat and low price. Softshells are only found near the fisheries, and only for a couple of weeks of the year.
I will not go into details of processing here, as I know some find it upsetting. I will only say that I respect my dinner, and am merciful.

 

This is an excerpt from Ouverture de Cuisine
(France, 1604 – Daniel Myers, trans.)

Stuffed Lobster or Crab.

Take lobster or crab, & make them boil like little lobsters, then take all the meat out, without breaking at all the shells thereon, then chop all the meat, & put therein chopped marjoram, nutmeg & pepper, three or four egg yolks, & fry all in butter, & put them back into the shell thereon, & all the little legs fried in butter, & put together.

a lobster on a cutting board, with assembled ingredients. Several egg yolks

For the first recipe, I first poached the lobster in wine with black pepper and considerable salt, then cautiously picked all of the meat that I could.
I blended this with the seasonings, sauteed the mixture together, and then stuffed the body.

all ingredients in a skillet, with a quarter pound of butter.
There was nowhere near enough meat to stuff the body properly, so I know I am missing some greater understanding of the dish.
I could have
stuffed the tails alone, but this would not have made a beautiful illusion food.
used the claw meat, but this would have spoiled the visual appearance of the service.
Stuffed the body and left the tail empty, but again, the service would have suffered
Used more stuffing ingredients and left the tail in place, stuffing only the body. This was the least appealing, as there is so little meat that is not in the tail or claws. ( I did pick carefully, but there still is’t enough to make a cup or so of filling)
My clue was the instruction to fry the legs in butter and use them as well. This implied that not only am I to use the accessible meat, but also to reassemble the dish as an illusion in some way.
I do trust my instinct to use Atlantic lobster rather than Mediterranean, but my choice to use softshells with less meat appears to have been a tactical error.
I served the stuffing as a delicate pate. It made a very rich and unctuous dish, with lobster meat, the rich ingredients from the body, butter, and egg yolks, seasoned with fresh marjoram, pepper, and nutmeg.
I would not attempt this for more than four people, even if I had all of the free lobsters in the world. It is so delicate that more than a moment from stove to table would ruin it.
The same Lobster or Crab in pottage.

Take all of the raw meat out, & cut into little pieces, & put to stew with white wine, fresh butter, ground nutmeg, a little pepper, chopped mint, or fresh citron cut into slices, & make it stew well, that it will be fat with butter, & put it when well cooked into little reumers, & serve so five or six to a plate.

I made the other dish at the same time. This one was both a great challenge and a wonderful reward.
I have not often picked meat from a raw lobster. It’s rather difficult, as the flesh is so delicate.
Again, choosing softshells worked against me.
After assembling the simmering ingredients and putting them together in the pot, I added the finely chopped flesh. I chose to use lemon rather than mint, as mint made no sense to my palate and I was not going to risk failure with such a delicate dish.
I served it in a ramekin with the broth and sippets. We both agreed that it was very like some of the better preparations of Shrimp Scampi we have had, but for the lack of garlic. It was both very familiar and slightly alien.
This dish would work very well with shrimp, monkfish, or even chicken breast as a rich delicacy.

a small ceramic ramekin filled to the top with broth and meat, sitting on a counter

http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/ouverture.html

http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/display.html?ouver:111:LPSTR

http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/display.html?ouver:112:LPSTR

Zomos; a Pottage
the Heidelberg Papyrus

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
Put wheat groats, coriander, leeks, onion, dill, basil, and a little aniseed into a
mortar. Boil on the stove and moisten with water, wine, garum, and wine
vinegar all mixed together. When it has boiled and you are about to take it off
the heat, sprinkle on some ground pepper.
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 oz coriander
1 oz leek, white part, trimmed and soaked.
3 oz onion, diced
1 tsp dried dill
1 oz basil, fresh, chiffonade, or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp aniseed, crushed
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
reserve 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
Crush items together,
Place in pot with tight fitting lid according to your preference.
Poach in water with red wine, wine vinegar.
When done cooking, add pepper.
This recipe has been adapted for gluten, the original calls for wheat groats.
The translator suggests presenting this as a sauce with butter beans (oop),
rather than as pottage.

I would like to discuss your thoughts on this dish, both as presented

in Grant’s book and my presentation of it, in comments.
Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif Cookery, 1999. 131. Print.

Minutal of Apricots

Apicius contains a number of dishes labeled as Minutal.
These dishes are all hashes of one form or another, whether they are vegetable, seafood, or meat. They also all finish with a “tracta”, a disc of prepared semolina, crumbled in to thicken the sauce for presentation.

Sometimes you have to work with what is in the pantry. In this case, it was what was in the yard. Though the instructions specifically called for dried onions and mint, and fresh apricots, I have it the other way round.

This dish is considered a “compound” dish, a dish of several elements. It is a sweet and sour pan casserole of meat, onions, fruit, and sauce.

The first instructions call for a cooked shoulder of pork. I don’t have a shoulder, I have ribs. I poached them with seasonings chosen to work well with the Minutal, by placing wine, pepper, dill, onion, and a little fish sauce in a pot, putting the meat in, and adding water. I then raised the temperature to a boil, slapped a lid on the pot, and turned off the heat. When the pot cooled, I put it away in the fridge overnight.

When it was time to make the dish, I had a little problem. I have fresh onions, fresh dill, fresh mint, but I do not have fresh apricots.

The instructions call for dried “Ascalonian” onions. That’s a scallion, a green onion. I think that means I have to dry some scallions this week, toward the future.

The apricots I have are dried minced apricots, which will cook up quickly and help thicken the dish, rather than juicy ripe apricots which will add some tang and a lot of juice. That’s a little sad. At least they have no sulfites or sweeteners. If those were all I could find, I would use slightly under-ripe peaches or make a different dish completely.

Adicies in caccabo oleum liquamen uinum; concides cepam ascaloniam aridam, spatulam porcinam coctam tessellatim concides. his omnibus coctis teres piper cuminum mentam siccam anetum, suffundis mel liquamen passum acetum modice, ius de suo sibi; temperabis;. Praecoqua enucleata mittis, facies ut ferueant, donec percoquantur. tractam confringes, ex ea obligas, piper aspargis et inferes.

Put oil, liquamen and wine in a pan.
Add dried scallions and already cooked, cubed pork.
Cook together.
Add seasonings and liquids, taste.
When seasonings are correct, add apricots
and simmer until they are cooked.
Crumble in a tracta, cook til thickened. Serve.

What I did is not what I would do with an ideal pantry.

assembled ingredients arrayed

2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS fish sauce
4 oz onion, diced, or scallions, or optimally, dried scallions.
16 oz pork (or turkey thigh), poached til fully cooked, cooled and diced

½ tsp pepper, ground
1 tsp cumin
1 sprig or 1 tsp mint
1 sprig or ½ tsp dill
1 TBS honey
1 TBS raisin wine or must syrup
up to ¼ c fish sauce (be wary of oversalting the dish)
up to ¼ c wine vinegar (if you are using a sweet wine, balsamic would work here to sub in for the syrupy quality the passum would have provided)
Up to a cup of wine. I had a local white, but would suggest a red, such as a Chianti.
6 fresh apricots or 2 oz of dried unsulphited unsweetened apricots.

Turn on the heat, warm the pan, and when you add the oil, also add the fish sauce and a splash of the wine.
When it is warm, add first the onions, then the diced meat. Warm it through.

onions and precooked meat  in the pan

Place the seasonings in the pan, stir to try to distribute them more evenly.
Add the honey, melt it in to the pan, then add the passum (or balsamic,) wine, vinegar (unless using balsamic) and blend together. Add half of the fish sauce, then taste for salt. Add the rest to your taste.
Place your fresh apricots in the pan, or fold in the dried ones so they are covered by liquid and can rehydrate in the sauce.
Watch the pot carefully, the fresh ones will make a wetter dish, the dry apricots may absorb too much liquid and encourage burning. Be prepared to add a little more wine to the dish so it does not burn.

before adding the apricots and thickener, the dish is dark brown and has a lot of broth

When the apricots are fully cooked, add thickener, to the dish, allow it to cook through, and serve.

We both thought of this dish as an interesting analog to pulled pork BBQ. The flavors are different, but the notes and elements of well cooked meat that “pulls”, a rich thick sweet tangy sauce, and deep notes of earthiness combine to make a very pleasing summer or winter dish.

I have made this since with fresh apricots. The difference is, as expected, most notable in the tartness and in the liquidity. The fresh fruit did affect the tenderness of the meat as well.

the finished food in two different bowls. There is a sheen on the food from rice flour

Should you choose to use turkey thigh, I strongly suggest skin off, bone on, and low temperature so as not to toughen the dish.
We had it with bread and a salad, but did not need the bread. We planned to use the leftovers for lunch the next day but they did not last long enough.

Confits; Candied walnuts

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
If you want to make candied walnuts, make a cut at every part, that is, on each
side and at both ends. After that, soak them nine days and nine nights, and
every day change with cold water. Then scald them with a pot of boiling water,
and leave it a day and a night.
For two hundred fifty walnuts, take three pounds of honey and a pitcher of
water, and cook it enough so it becomes half a pitcher.
Then take them from the pot and put them in a basket to drain well for a whole
night, and then spread them out on a screen and put them on their ends; and
they should stay the whole night.
After that, take thirteen pounds of honey and the walnuts said above, and take
the honey and put it on the fire. When it boils skim it well, and put in the nuts,
and cook it so that the honey is sticky enough.
After that, take them out of the honey and a clove on one end, and on the other
end a pistachio nut, and on the sides a clove of ginger and a pine nut. Do all
of this with every walnut.
Put them in a sauce dish, and pour hot honey over them so they are well
covered.
8 oz walnuts
8 oz honey
4 oz water
1/4 tsp dried ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 oz pine nuts
2 oz pistachios
Place nuts in pot. Cover with water, rinse until water clears. Simmer in water
until soft and water discolors. Discard water.
Place nuts evenly on parchment paper, place in medium oven (300) and gently
dry without cooking nuts. Place honey and measured water in pot. Simmer
until reduced by half (use a spatula to gauge depth visually)
When the honey has reduced, fold in the cooked walnuts. When the nuts are
evenly coated, turn off the heat, add the pistachios and pine nuts. Fold in the
spices, then put the nuts into the storage jar. Cover them with the honey from
the pot.
NOTE This recipe relies on the salt of the pistachios for it’s seasoning. If you
have unsalted pistachios, you may wish to use a teaspoon of salt, applied to the
walnuts after boiling, before drying.
Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from
Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 164-165. Print.

The final dish, heavy on the chicken, light on the vegetables.

Bukkenade is a great leftovers dish. I love leftovers dishes. Not everything needs to be a lot of fuss.

 Bukkenade. Take hennes or connynges or veel or othere flessh & hewe hem to gobettes. Waische it and sethe hit well. Grynde almaundes vnblaunched, and drawe hem vp with the broth; cast therinne raysouns of couraunce, sugur, powdour gynger, erbes ystewed in grees, oynouns and salt. If it is to thynne, alye it vp with flour of ryse or with other thyng, and colour it with safroun.

I made this dish using things on hand, though the greens were not leftover.

My garden gave me Rutabaga tops, Hyssop, Salad Burnet, Lovage, and Sage, as well as a few decently large Spring Onions.

herbed piled on a board waiting to be chopped.

Herbs

I sliced it all to chiffonade, and fried it with salt in chicken fat from the broth.

the board, the knife, the herbs ready to fry

Herbs ready to fry, sliced finely. I did not use all of the onion top

2 cups Leftover chicken, picked over, cubed.
1 c herbs and vegetables
1 Tbs chicken fat or olive oil
1 1/2 c Almond milk
1/2 c Chicken broth, if the almond milk was not made with it
1/4 c Currants
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 c total fried greens (subrecipe)
1/2 tsp salt in total, no matter which step it came in from.
1 tsp rice flour, muddled in cold water, held aside.
1 pinch saffron, in water, if you wish, held aside

One small pot
One medium pan
1 knife, board
1 spatula
1 ladle

Rinse herbs and vegetables, slice them very finely.
Add to the pan with the oil, sautee until done.
Add the chicken, warm through.

In pot, place almond milk, and if not made with chicken originally, add broth.
Add currants, ginger, and sugar.

 

almond milk with currants and ginger

Almond milk with currants and ginger

When almond mixture is warm, add to the chicken mixture. Simmer until almond milk begins to thicken. Taste for salt. Add if needed.
Add saffron if you wish, it is just for color.

Chicken, vegetables, and almond milk together in the pan, beginning to cook together

Chicken, vegetables, and almond milk together in the pan, beginning to cook together

If you wish, add the rice slurry, and simmer for a further 5 minutes to allow the starch to cook.

Adding rice flour slurry to thicken. Otherwise fully cooked.

Adding rice flour slurry to thicken. Otherwise fully cooked.

Serve.

 

The sauce isn’t gloppy, it’s light, creamy, and nice. You might like more ginger, I am not a fan so I have a light hand with it.

 

This dish could easily be adapted to a Vegetables with Chicken dish by changing the proportions and types of vegetables.

Bukkenade can also be made into  a group service dish by layering the greens with chicken, pouring the sauce over, and baking, much like a spinach souffle.

It could also be adapted to a Vegetables with Chicken dish by changing proportions.

I have been asked to make this dish again.

 

 

Hieatt, C. B. (1985). Curye on Inglysch: English culinary manuscripts of the 14. century : (including the Forme of Cury). London [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press.

Olives with Herbs

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
Epityrum Varium
Epityrum album nigrum variumque sic facito. Ex oleis albis nigris variisque
nuculeos eicito. Sic condito. Concidito ipsas, addito oleum, acetum,
coriandrum, cuminum, feniculum, rutam, mentam. In orculam condito, oleum
supra siet. Ita utito.
Olives with Herbs
You should make an epityrum of varied green, black, and speckled olives like
this;
Press out the stones from green, black, and speckled olives. Season as follows.
Chop the olives, add olive oil, vinegar, coriander, cumin, fennel, rue, mint. Put
in an earthenware vessel. There should be olive oil on top. Serve like this.

4 oz of mixed olives, stoned and coarsely chopped.
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 sprig fresh coriander, chiffonade
1/8 tsp cumin (about 5 seeds) crushed or powdered
1 Tbs shaved fennel root, or 4 fennel seeds, crushed or powdered
6 leaves rue or 1 sprig parsley
3 leaves mint
1/4 cup excellent olive oil
Blend the seasonings together, cover with olive oil. Allow to stand for several
hours at cool room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
Serves four
*if you choose to use rue for personal use, 6 small fresh leaves is a good
amount. Otherwise, a sprig of parsley would be suitable.

Attributed to Cato’s “On Agriculture”.

Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif
Cookery, 1999. 75. Print.

Curye on Inglisch 38

I don’t like rice.

I’ll eat it, but I won’t go out of my way for it. It just isn’t my thing.

One of the recipes that seems to find its way into more cookbooks than any other is blancmange. Rice. This does not  inspire excitement.

However, it’s as  economical as it is pervasive, using broth, almonds, rice, and leftover chicken picked off of the bones, or when made especially for a particular diner, only a little of the breast of a capon.

As much as I don’t love rice, it would be disingenious to avoid making this dish.

I had lots of reference sources available. Some call for verjus, others for pikefish, and a large variety of spices.

I used this iteration from Curye on Inglisch.

38 Blank maunger. Take capouns and seeth them, thenne take hem vp; take almaundes blaunched, grynd hem &alay hem vp with the same broth. Cast the mylk in a pot. Waisshe rys and do thereto, and lat it seeth; thane take the brawn of the capouns, teese it small and do therto. Take white grece, sugur and salt, and cast therinne. Lat it seeth; thenne messe it forth and florissh ot with aneys in confyt, red other whyt, and with almaundes fryed in oyle, and serue it forth. (p106)

 

  • Take capons and seethe them-poach a chicken and make some broth.
  • Make almond milk using that broth.
  • Simmer rice in the chicken-almond milk
  • Add shredded chicken. Specifically “teased”, not diced.
  • Add “white grece”
  • sugar and salt, and let it seethe.
  • Serve with a garnish of anise comfits and toasted almonds.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 ounces raw almonds, soaked overnight, peeled.
  • 1 quart of chicken broth, warmed
  • ¼ c chicken fat from the broth
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup rice, soaked
  • ½ TBS salt
  • 1 TBS sugar

the assembled ingredients for the dish; chicken broth, peeled almonds, rice, chicken, sugar, salt

GEAR

basin to soak almonds

processor for almond milk

strainer for almond milk

pot to cook in (or rice cooker)

spatula

HOW TO

Set aside a dozen almonds for garnish.

Place the rest of the almonds in a processor or blender. Whiz til they are meal.

Add chicken broth, whiz to commingle well.

Strain and press solids,  set them aside for a future dish.

 

a food processor with almond milk being made with chicken stock.

There is not enough sp`the almond milk is no longer liquid, and risks burningace in this processor for the almond milk to be properly made, it must be transferred to a larger vessel to be completed.

  • Start by putting a couple of teaspoons of chicken fat into the cooking pot, and toast the almonds. Set them aside. Don’t wipe out the pot.
  • Place rice in the same pot, add almond milk. Watch the pot closely, as almond milk does not behave quite like water, and will cook out at a different rate. If your almond milk is depleted before your rice is done, supplement with broth, or if you are out of that as well, use water.
  • When the rice is done (or if you are clever, when the rice cooker dings) fold in the chicken and spices, and add chicken fat a tablespoon at a time until you are pleased with the mouthfeel and texture. Don’t skip the chicken fat step.
  • Place in a bowl or on a plate, garnish with toasted almonds, and serve. If you wish to use anise comfits, decorate with them as well.

NOTES

Every time I make a chicken, I save the bones to make broth.  I put the prior broth in a pot, warm it up, and add the bones. It gets richer, denser, and more flavorful every time. This dish would have been pretty insipid without the intensity of the broth, as it was the primary source of flavor.

I have read a lot of conflicting opinions on what rice was most likely used historically. I chose to use Arborio which I had on hand.

Skinning a pound of almonds took two hours. It’s fussy.

I put the almond and chicken mixture into a pot to warm together, because the processor could not hold enough liquid to make the almond milk. It worked out pretty well, as straining the almond milk is potentially messy.

I added my salt and sugar directly to the chicken meat in order to ensure the seasonings being evenly distributed. There’s more of a risk of over or under seasoning using this method.

The pot I used is not the best one for a dish like this. The squared off bottom corners invited sticking and burning, so I wound up stirring constantly. This worked out in my favor, as it wound up being accidental risotto.

Honestly, it was a good dish. I did not enjoy it, but only because I am still not partial to rice.
I was asked to serve it again, and I will. If haste is an issue, I may use both commercial almond milk and strong broth to create the depth of flavor, which would make this a 30 minute dish. It was a success.

If you wish to explore the very wide world of Medieval blancmanges, check out this link to the Medieval Cookery site; it’s a list of several. You are certain to find a type there that will work for you.

http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/display.html?fourm:36

 

Hieatt, C. B. (1985). Curye on Inglysch: English culinary manuscripts of the fourteenth century, including the “Forme of cury. London ; New York ; Toronto: Oxford university press

 

Pyramid Cakes (Semolina and honey cake)

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
Athenaeus, “The Partying Professors”
In his book “on cakes”, Iatrokles makes mention of khoirinai and what are
called Pyramous, which he says are no different from what people call
Pyramis. For these are made from toasted wheat soaked in honey. They are
served to those who have stayed up all night for religious festivals

 

This isn’t much of a recipe, to be honest, so I had to do some work to make a dish of it.

I claim no authenticity or historical relevence beyond the fact of influence by the instruction found.

My version is based on Persian semolina halvas I have had. I have no documentation whatsoever

that implies what the characters in the play quoted might have implied by “toasting.”

All that said, this has been a runaway hit wherever it has been served, so I thought it would be rude to keep

to myself.
1 cup water
1 cup honey
2 cups semolina flour (sold as Sooji in Indian markets)
1 1/2 cups butter or neutral flavored oil
1/4 tsp salt
olive oil
Mix honey and water in a pan and heat over low flame. Bring it to boil and set
aside.
In a separate pan, toast the semolina, until it begins to changes color.
Add the butter or oil, sauté flour and butter for several minutes until the flour
is golden brown.
Add syrup slowly and beat hard until well incorporated.
Use a processor, if needed. Simmer over medium heat until it sets up and
becomes a unified pâté .
Press into molds or pan. Chill.
Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif Cookery, 1999. 43. Print.
Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif Cookery, 1999. 154. Print

IMG_4855

Chicken is one of my all time favorite foods. It’s quite versatile, and it’s always a delight to find a new way of presenting it or a new technique that gives a different result.
This recipe is unusual for me in that it comes off of a website rather than from a printed book. It was wonderful to have access to so much reference when my own books were packed.
This time, due to a confluence of events and a freshly restocked spice rack, I decided to use a recipe from the Medieval Cookery site(1), the same recipe also appears on Godecookery. (2)
Farsure if Chekyn is a window into the cook’s daily life. It requires an already cooked piece of pork as a stuffing for a chicken, and leaves the cook with a nice quantity of rich broth for the next day’s cooking. This planned economy, with building and consuming resources as they come available and preparing for the needs of the next day is quite a pleasure. Recipes almost demand to be made when the components are the natural leftovers from the preparations of the day before.

That said, it is also a rather pot-intensive dish. While a manor hall would have had a pot for simmering and a spit for roasting ready much of the time, in a modern home that means dirty pots.

Serve with blancmange and asparagus, or green beans amandine, or whatever suits you

 

The Recipe
1 small chicken
1 pound of chopped pork (or turkey, which is faboo also)
¼ c Currants (the raisin kind, not blackcurrants)
2-3 hard boiled egg yolks.
1 TBS salt, divided
saffron
mace
cloves
cubebs
canela cinnamon
1 raw egg yolk

1 pint and 1 quart of water.

The Tools
1 cutting board
1 small boning knife
1 bowl
1 or 2 simmering pots. (if one, you will need to wash it out between processes)
1 roasting pan
parchment or foil for pan, if you wishh
1 sturdy pot-spoon (for turning the chicken in the simmer pot)

The Action

 

Duck eggs for gilding, chicken eggs for stuffing, so I don't lose track

Duck eggs for gilding, chicken eggs for stuffing, so I don’t lose track

Put the saffron into a tablespoon of tepid-to-warm water. Allow it to sit for at least a little while.
Crush or grind any whole spices, run them through a small strainer to make sure there are no chunks.
Reserve a teaspoon or so of salt for the chicken.

Bone the insides of the chicken if you wish, as much or as little as you feel comfortable doing. This allows more stuffing and easier carving later, as well as the use of the bones in broth.
If the currants are dried out, put them into the simmering pan with the pint of water, on low heat. Allow them to become gently hydrated.
Crush the yolks and spices together while the currants simmer and the saffron mellows.
Put the ground meat into the simmering pot, with the pint of water and the currants and drop all of the spices in. Fold together until the meat loses it’s pinkness but does not begin to crumble.

IMG_4837

( Put the meat into a bowl to reserve it, if needed, and wash the pot.)

IMG_4838

Stuff the chicken with the blended, parcooked meat mixture, and truss it well to keep the stuffing where we want it.
Bring the quart of water into the second pot, and allow it to simmer (bubbles breaking surface, but rising gently)
Turn the oven on to *400. Prepare the baking tray, I like to use parchment paper.

Lower the bird into the simmering water, wait til the skin changes color and the chicken meat begins to look as though it is beginning to think about cooking. It took me about 15 minutes of careful cooking, from beginning to end.
Turn the bird in the simmering pot as cautiously as possible, trying not to break the skin.
When the bird is evenly poached, but nowhere close to cooked through, remove it to the baking tray.

IMG_4847

Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of salt on the breast, and pop it into the oven.
(At this point, I put the bones I removed from the chicken into the simmering water, and allow it to cook to make a light broth)

Roast for 30 minutes, then remove the chicken and endore with the egg yolk. Place back in the oven to finish roasting.

IMG_4853

When your meat thermometer tells you it is time, pull the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Check the stuffing temp as well, it needs to be the same 165 as the chicken for safety.

Serve with blancmange and asparagus, or green beans amandine, or whatever suits you, but do make the effort to try this one. It’s too fussy for most event halls, but it deserves to be appreciated.

IMG_4858

 

 

http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/display.html?ancie:59:XKN

http://www.godecookery.com/nboke/nboke20.htm

Comer Higos a la Francesa:, To Eat Figs in the French manner

Rupert de Nola, Libre del Coch; Lady Brighid ni Chiarain, trans.

After a year and a half of stuff you probably don’t want to hear about, I am back. We are mostly unpacked, and have found a lot of the things needed for cooking.

My books are finding their ways back to the shelves, and I am making spice blends and big batches of stock and fat broth again.

We have fresh stores of almonds and cubebs, the garden is alive with dill, rue, and lovage.  The apple trees were taken in the storm, the pear will be harvested one last time before that tree too must make way. It has not been stable without the apples to support it.

Last November, I was honored to prepare the food for a performance of The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail. It was a delightful day, with songs and laughter, heartfelt performances, and the most marvelous kitchen staff. It was a magical day. If you were there, thank you.

We served a variety of dishes, from a relatively broad selection of books. The event setting was intended as being the Court of Alphonse X, which gave me quite a bit of excitement in selecting a balanced menu. I used a number of influences, and had a tremendous amount of help in the year leading up to it.

These recipes have been printed in a small booklet which was present at the event. I do not anticipate editing them further, nor adding photographs until I cook them as part of our regular menu.

If you have used the booklet, I welcome your comments as each respective recipe is posted, unless you prefer to email me.

This dish, a fig compote, is a pleasant condiment for a pork or ham dish, an accompaniment to cheese, a salad adornment, even a dip for apples. It is easily made from dried figs, and can be pressure canned for picnics. I love the stability and versatility of this dish. It can be prepared, put into a feast basket to supplement a meal, and be forgotten until needed, or wrapped prettily as a guest gift.

The Recipe

 Take dried figs, the sweetest that you can get, black and white, and remove the

stems and wash them with good white wine which is sweet; and when they are

very well-cleaned, take an earthenware casserole which is big enough, which

has a flat bottom, and cast them inside, stirring them a little; and then put this

casserole upon the coals, and well-covered in a manner that it is stewed there.

And when they are stewed, and they will have absorbed all of the moisture of

the wine, stir them a little, and cast fine spice on top of them; and turn them,

stirring in a manner that incorporates that spice in them; and then eat this

food; and it is an elegant thing; and it should be eaten at the beginning of the

meal.

My adaptation

8 oz dried figs

8 oz water or dessert wine (sauternes)

4 oz ordinary white sugar

1/4 tsp canela cinnamon ( or simmer with a cinnamon stick )

1 pinch of salt

Soak figs in water for one day

Reserve water.

Place figs in the pot on stove in the same water, boil.

Add sugar, simmer until dissolved and figs are fork-tender.

Add a little more water if not covered.

Taste, refrigerate overnight.

Remove stems from figs,

Place figs in processor, beat up well.

Add a bit more of the cooking water if too stiff.

Add cinnamon if you opted not to simmer with a stick.

Place in jars, refrigerate.

Makes a pint.

Note: Lemon peel, nutmeg, or black pepper would be pleasant in this dish.

 

 

Gear: Measuring spoons

Saucepan

Spatulas

food processor (really vital, it would be a bear without the help of good staff)

pint canning jar and sealing lid

 

 

Libro de Guisados. Carroll-Mann, Robin. N.p.. Web. 14 Oct 2013.

<http://www.florilegium.org/?http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOODMANUSCRIPTS/

Guisados1-art.html>