No pictures, I am afraid.

I was working on a boar dish, but the meat was off, and was discarded.

We made To Boyle a Cony with a Pudding in HIs Belly, at the home of some friends.

It wound up being a lot like http://carbonadoes.com/2012/08/18/capon-or-goos-roste/ but we used raw yolks, and made the dish with the meat pressed into a terrine with the meat folded about it, and cooked in the vessel.

It was far more delightful with the raw yolk, though unmolding would have worked better had we been less hungry, and waited for it to cool.

The breadcrumb is quite valuable in this instance for managing the fat and juices from being baked inside a clay baker. We cooked to an internal temp of 150, which almost stewed the meat, but the filling was in no way overcooked.

I look forward to eating more of this book.

I am cooking out of Neapolitan so much lately that I am uncomfortable posting the English translation, which I did not write. Please refer to www.medievalcookery.com for the English for this dish.

The book, which is out of print, is worth seeking out if possible, it has a lot more information.

Advance warning. This dish is about the sauce. My iteration of this sauce is not successful, but it is informative. I present this dish as the first in a probable series, following an unfamiliar cooking paradigm through iterations until I believe I find my way to a successful, plausible result.

This experiment is flawed. Do not consider it a viable dish in this form, please.

Here we have a braised meat dish, supplemented with fat, served with a sauce thickened with eggs and livers, then spiced.

The author calls for goat, I have venison. It’s similar in size, and in lean-ness, as well as, in this case, gaminess. I believe this to be an adequate substitution.

This is a forequarter on-bone, and challenging to cut up. Because I have a vessel of adequate size, and the time to dedicate to the braise, I am comfortable cooking it mostly whole.

My fat is home cured salt-fat. If you wish to know more about salt fat, I highly recommend the Jas Townsend and Son video “Preparing Salt Pork – 18th Century Cooking Series S1E5.”

Though this company’s videos are based on 18th C usage, it is relevant.

The sauce relies on a concept that is quite common in Medieval cookery, but not one I had run into modernly. I’m still trying to make culinary sense of it, and expect to revisit this idea many times until I am content with my results. It calls for a combination of egg yolks, livers, and bread crumbs for thickening.

Modernly, sauces and soups thickened with egg call for a raw yolk to be tempered by adding warm liquid gently and slowly, then adding the warmed mixture back to the pot. Several other recipes in this book specify cooked yolks, as do recipes in many other contemporary books. When I have used this technique in the past, I have been dismayed with the graininess that seems to be a reliable result.

Though I am fond of liver, and am comfortable cooking and eating it in many iterations, thickening with liver is a bit of a stretch. In cooking for groups, I have avoided potentially unwelcome foodstuffs, but for home, it’s about faith to the intent of a dish. I have to figure this out.

A few comments in different books from similar time frames imply that the livers to be used should be cooked. Handling is also much easier with it cooked, so I parcooked my chicken livers for 10 minutes in the oven while braising the venison.

I am familiar with the concept of thickening with blood, though the idea does not appeal to me. Apparently, thickening with raw liver is not unlike thickening with blood, raw livers are ground up and added with a careful hand. Next time, I will work with raw, for comparison. (see note at the end)

Thickening with breadcrumbs is fairly straightforward, though not as simple as using flour or starch.

I find that a long, low temperature simmer is best for breadcrumbs to do their jobs well, and often the texture ends up lumpy no matter what one does. Sieving is good, to a point.

It seems that each of these agents needs similar, but distinct handling, and each is distinctly temperamental.

The liver flavor dissipated, the egg flavor blended, the stock flavor faded, and I wish I had had more of the herbs. All we could taste was the fat.

My spices were chosen based on the flavors I expected from the meat, and from among those which had specific mention within the book. I used cloves, cinnamon, grains of paradise, and a modicum of sugar to balance the bitterness in the liver. I won’t mess with these proportions til we have the sauce fixed.

Prepare Spices;

1.5 tsp Grains of Paradise

1 tsp whole Cloves

½ tsp Cinnamon (Canel)

½ tsp Sugar

Crushed together in the mortar and pestle.

neapolitan-kid-9

There was excess. The clove may be a bit much for beef, but for such earthy game, it was appropriate.

Cook Meat;

1 quarter of goat, or equivalent. About 4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces if possible.

(I used a quarter deer, whole.)

½ gallon water

½ lbs salt-fat

½ cup verjus, or substitution.

1 Tbs salt

Bake in an oven at 300* for 3 hours with a lid on, turn all the meat at 90 minutes

neapolitan-kid-15

Prepare Sauce.

I started with 6 hard eggs, which gave me 80(ish) grams of yolks, and keyed my measurements from there.

80 g hard egg yolk

80 g par-cooked liver

80 g raw onion

2 g salt

1 g fresh mint

5 g fresh flat-leaf parsley

40 g dry bread crumbs

pulse til aggregated

neapolitan-kid-3

When doing something unknown, and without backing reference materials, I start with equal amounts, if possible, of the main players, so I can get a sense of what to increase or reduce. This is harder when one isn’t certain even of the form the ingredient should be presented in.

All items were pulsed to cohesion in the processor. It isn’t the same result as pounding, but it is expedient.

I wound up with a dry pate. If I had sauted the onion in advance and adjusted the seasoning, this would be a familiar dish all on its own.

When the meat had cooked through, I removed some broth to a smaller pot, and added my egg yolk mixture, bringing it to a simmer.

I used

3 c broth

6 Tbs above mixture

simmer, whisk if needed.

neapolitan-kid-7

I was unwilling to use too much, making the flavor too pronounced.

The sauce did not thicken notably. We only used about a half cup of the resulting sauce at dinner.
It did set up a little, and thickened over the next half hour, then broke and became thin.

I served about 8 ox of meat with 2 oz of the sauce, garnished with my spices.

The added fat was a problem for our palates. Even with the verjus and spices, it left us feeling a bit greasy, and uninterested in second helpings.

This recipe will be revisited til I get something I believe is plausible.

Note on cooking chicken livers

In using chicken livers, if you have never done so before, selection and picking over is a huge part of success. Look for any shade of yellow or green, and discard those portions. Cutting off segments is fine, if only a small part is affected. Remove blood spots, and lay the meat flat in the pan.

I hate the cleanup, so I first line my pan with foil, then a disc of parchment, so the meat can cook well but my cleanup will be minimal and least stressful.

To par cook them, I put the pan in the oven while the main pot is braising, for about 15 minutes, then allow them to cool. I do not season them for this simple cooking, though a little salt would go well. Broiling works well, a toaster oven is a good choice for this step.

http://carbonadoes.com/2012/09/22/neapolitan-vermicelli/

We had vermicelli again. Yes, we have pasta that rarely.

This time, I did it on purpose, not with leftovers.

The pasta was Strascinati, a thick curl of dough somewhat related to orrechietti. I also had the choice of  rocetti, which were suggested by my pasta monger, and will use those soon for something.

vermicelli-6

The cheese was a gorgeous Parmesan Dolce, a short-cured cheese, about the density of Jarlsberg, albeit without holes. It is mild and sweet in flavor.

We had some beautiful chicken broth with a thick fat layer on it in the fridge. I put a kilo of the dry pasta into a quart of broth supplemented with about a cup of water, in which a large pinch of saffron had bloomed.

This simmered on the stove for about 10 minutes to allow me to stir the pasta so it would not stick, then I put it in the oven at 200* for an hour.

When I pulled it out, it had cooked too long, and become a casserole. The pasta had begun to break down, all of the liquid was absorbed.

vermicelli-10

I grated about 2 oz of the cheese into each bowl and served 6 oz of the pasta on top of the cheese, the heat from the pasta melted it nicely, allowing it to get folded in.

I used a little cinnamon, some cumin, salt, pepper, and sugar as the spices. Ginger would go well, if you enjoy it.

The leftover pasta was packed without cheese.

To reheat, we added a good amount of grated cheese, folded them together, and baked as a casserole in a pan. It came out of the pan crusty and warm, very comforting on the first wintry night of the year.

Savory Apple Onion Pie

IMG_0062
Filling:

4 medium Apples
1 large or 2 medium onions (about 1 cup sliced)
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp each ginger, anise, saffron
½ tsp cinnamon
about 10 Mission Figs or 5 larger ones, chopped
about 2 tbsp raisins or currants (or a mixture)
1 to 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley or fresh (not frozen) chopped spinach
¼ cup dry red wine or good port

Make a pie crust.

Peel and core two apples. Place in a plastic bag and crush or pound them with a rolling pin. Add a few drops of wine to prevent browning. Set aside.

Cut onion into thick slices. Saute in the butter until they are soft and translucent, but not brown. Add the spices. Note: to use saffron, mix it with a little salt and grind in a mortar.

Cut two remaining apples into thick slices or chunks. Mix with all of the remaining ingredients including the cooked onions and the pounded apples.

Roll out pie dough. You can cook in a pie pan, or you can make two large squares or rectangles or you can make it into 6 or 8 pasty shells in whatever shape you like (free forms need to be baked on a cookie sheet or flat pan).

Place filling on bottom crust. Be careful not to overfill the pie. Wet the edge with water or egg white. Add the top crust, seal carefully. Make a decorative edge if you want. Paint the pastry with egg white or with saffron mixed with water to make it pretty.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until pastry is done. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving, or eat it cold.

This recipe was found in the AS XXIX Arts and Sciences Issue of Pikestaff. It is based on a recipe in Taillevent recipe and was originally written up by Lady Dante de Felice.

Hello.  My name is John Marshall ate Forde.

cheese bag

I am a cook both in and outside of the SCA, and the apprentice brother of Maestra Asa, who has invited me to share some of my thoughts on food with her readers.  You can find more of my writing at Flour Yeast Salt (just add water) and more about me in the SCA at John Marshall.

As part of a dish I’m working on for River Wars that we’re calling Medieval Risotto , I’m going to need Chicken Stock, lots of Chicken Stock.

On Friday, Weis Markets had a meat sale and was offering whole chickens for $0.77 a pound.  So I stocked up.

I cut four chickens in half, loaded them into my two biggest stock pots and cooked them with carrots, onions (unpeeled), celery, bay leaf, parsley and peppercorns and covered it all with water.  I brought both pots up to a simmer and let them go for about two hours.

After the two hours were up, I strained the stock, then reduced it down to under two gallons of liquid.  Once the stock was nicely reduced, I loaded it into quart mason jars and put them into a pressure canner.

After loading up the pot, two inches of hot (around 180 degrees) water was added and the lid was clamped on.

I put the flame up to high and per the instructions in the Ball Blue Book, brought the pot up to a boil, let steam vent for 10 minutes and then put on the weight and brought the pressure up to 10 pounds.

Once the pressure had settled down, I processed the jars for 25 minutes.

As a side note, it’s very important when canning to follow the recipes exactly, in order to insure food safety.

When the time was  up, I turned off the heat and let the pressure drop to zero.  5 minutes later, I carefully removed the weight, unclamped the lid and let the opened pot sit for another 10 minutes.  After that, I removed the very hot jars and let them cool overnight.

Shelf stable and awaiting the next step…

I injured myself, and have been working on rehab. No parts missing, but still, it’s meant a lot of bed-rest for the past many weeks.

Thanks for your patience.

 

In the meantime, I would like to introduce John Marshall, of  flouryeastsalt . He will be posting some thoughts here while I finish up healing.

John is a talented cook, and a very fine bread baker. I like cooking with him a lot, he’s got an easy way in a kitchen that makes him a pleasure to work with.

Please keep the comments coming!

In the morning take a chicken that was killed the night before and skin it without hot water so the skin does not tear, then eviscerate it and from that spot begin the skinning, pulling it back up to the neck; then cook the meat without the skin; when it is cooked, take the breast and grind it up thoroughly with a little cheese, parsley, marjoram and other fragrant herbs, and mix this into the chicken breast and grind it all again with a little cloves, pepper, cinnamon, saffron and a little veal fat; and mix everything together, adding in two eggs; make this mixture a little on the soft side. Then get a carafe big enough to hold a chicken or capon, and see that the mouth of the carafe is rather wide; then stuff the chicken skin and sew it where you cut it; stick its feet into the carafe and have its neck stick out of the neck of the carafe -for, before inserting the skin, you should make sure that the carafe will be big enough to hold [the whole of the stuffed skin]; if it is big enough, stuff the chicken through its neck which will be sticking out of the neck of the carafe, but do not overstuff it; then tie up the neck and let the chicken swell to take up the space in the carafe; then settle the chicken properly in the carafe by means of a stick; fill the carafe with slightly salted water, and set the carafe to boil inside a cauldron or else gently by the fire-but it would really be better to fill a cauldron with water and boil it, and then, or before it boils, to set the carafe in it; it will be cooked in an hour’s time; send it off to be served, leaving to those whose job it is the weighty problem of carving it up.

Last week, I putjust the leg into a carafe, this week, I put a whole chicken, boneless, and farced (minced) into one.

The dish is functionally a galantine, or meatloaf in a chicken skin. I used to do something similar when I was a kid, but it is a lot of work, so I got out of the habit.

First, find a chicken worth working with. A supermarket bird will be challenging, the fresher the bird the easier it will be to skin without tearing. If you can manage a farm market bird, it will be least difficult.

To skin a chicken, start from the larger end. Oil your hands if you must. Keep it all chilled, and move slowly.

Modern methods usually include skinning the legs, but cutting off the wings joints and leaving them attached to the skin, which is what I did.

When the chicken has been skinned, poach the meat, then mince it and blend with the other ingredients. I kept the skin in a zip bag in the fridge, had I needed to store it for more than an hour, I would have put it in saltwater.

I blended the herbs, spices and cheese, fat, and eggs together while poaching in order to get a sense of my proportions as I minced the meat.

After filling the skin, I stitched it shut with linen thread, and placed it in my carafe. I made certain the neck tube stuck out of the carafe in order to allow the filling to steam and not draw in the salt water it was about to cook in.

I placed the carafe in a larger pot of water, and set it to simmer. The water steamed down and needed to be replenished fairly often, which was a hassle.

While I began the dish with saltwater in my carafe, I did not replenish with saltwater, as I did not wish to add more salt to the dish. A quarter cup total, all in the brine, was quite sufficient for my (lower salt preference) tastes.

While the recipe expected the product to be cooked in an hour, and the filling was set enough for eggs to be safe, the skin of the chicken did not set enough to be food safe, so I had to leave it on the stove longer, and contemplated using a torch to finish, though that would have ruined the appearance and texture. I will sacrifice a lot for food safety.

Having the saltwater up over the whole chicken did not help with this problem, nor did raising the temperature.

In the end, only letting it continue to seethe for several hours, til the contents reached a solid 160, was the only solution. Though the meat was cooked prior to stuffing, the skin had been raw.

On completion, I allowed the meat to cool in the vessel. It had shrunk considerably, making it no trouble at all to remove from my vessel, though it is not radically shaped.

The dish could have used more binding cheese, but it would have lost some of the poultry intensity.

It’s particularly nice if your diners are on a soft diet.

A couple of years ago, I did Recipe 18, a “lasagna” using chicken skin as the noodles. It seems that may have been a usage of the skin if the cook tore it past stitching up well. That dish, I do not recommend.

 

1 whole chicken, preferably with the neck tube intact, preferably extremely fresh

2 yards undyed, food safe linen

1/4 c fresh cheese; farmers, ricotta, etc, or, in a pinch, extra chicken fat

1/8 c veal fat or chicken fat, or, in a pinch, extra cheese. Not salt pork.

2 eggs

Up to a half cup of fresh herbs, mostly parsley and marjoram, or a teaspoon of each. Tarragon works nicely, as do minced garlic scapes.

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp saffron

1 tsp pepper

Do not salt.

Skin Chicken. Set skin aside carefully, break carcass, poach meat and bones.

Separately, make a brine of a quart of water and a quarter cup of salt.

While poaching, blend the herbs, seasonings, cheese, fat and eggs.

Strip meat, cool and mince.

Fold in egg mixture. Look for a texture a bit like thick pancake batter.

Place the chicken mixture in the chicken, sew up the chicken.

Place the galantine in a vessel not much bigger than it, with the neck tube facing up.

Place the vessel in a larger vessel, pour water as high as you can.

Put the saltwater in the smaller vessel.

Place a snug lid overtop.

Simmer til thermometer reads 160.
Allow to cool for a reasonable period of time, extricate from the vessel,

Slice carefully, serve.  Serve the poaching broth separately, it is quite salty.

 

 

Get a chicken and cut it up very small and put it in a carafe with a little rosewater and a little whole cinnamon; put this carafe in a cauldron full of water and boil it; when the cauldron boils, make sure the carafe is fastened and sealed: put something on it that holds it down steady in the water; in order to know how the meat in the carafe is, put a chicken foot to cook in the cauldron: when this is cooked, so will the rest be; then take out the carafe and pour out the juice in it, and serve it to be drunk or else eaten together with the cooked meat, with sugar on top. This is no food for your mouth, my dear cook!

Broth with a side of condescending! The end comment about “no food for your mouth” seems to refer to the very meager result of the process. There isn’t enough for the cook to taste.
I used a chicken wing instead of a foot as my timer, this was an error. The foot usually cooks in about three hours, this dish took about three hours. The wing was done in 40 minutes.
The water in the pipkin my carafe sat in boiled down a few times, I had to top it up.
I used dough as the sealant. A hot-water pie crust would have worked better than the yeasted dough I did have excess of. This was to keep the steam inside, as the main intent of the dish is juices, and the only source of those is the meat. If the steam escaped, the entire dish would have been a failure.
We used silicone rubber bands to hold the carafe tight to the pipkin, but it turned out not to be required, the carafe was heavy enough.
After all of those hours, the result was a very simple, very bland, not overly intense chicken broth, perfectly suitable for someone frail. It struck me as a lovingly crafted dish designed to nourish a very ill person. There was less than a half cup.
While it was an interesting exercise, it was also not at this juncture overly valuable. The best part of it was enjoying using my lovely pipkin.

Scully, Terence. Cuoco Napoletano: The Neapolitan Recipe Collection (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS Bühler, 19) : A Critical Edition and English Translation. Ann Arbor, Mich.: U of Michigan, 2000. 192. Print.