a whole roasted chicken in a pot, about to be carved

When I was a kid, Mom would splash out on a capon once or twice a year. They are almost impossible to get now, because modern farm practices are not lending to that kind of breeding, but I have had them, and can keep in mind the qualities I seek in a bird

This recipe is so simple and minimal, with so little else going on, that the quality of the meat almost entirely dictates the result of the dish. This being the beginning of farmers’ market season in my area, I have access to meat fine enough to stand up to this recipe.

Choose a bird that fits your soup pot. Always keep in mind the vessels you must use to prepare your food in. Get the nicest possible bird. Any will be good, but having had exceptional, I would like you to enjoy it as much as we did.

Blanching the chicken causes the skin to become terribly fragile. It rips at the merest glance.

I lifted my chicken out of the poach by inserting a long spatula in each end. It is very important to drain as you lift, it can be dangerous and messy if the water inside the bird spills.

Having used many types of fat for larding over the years, our best results were from thinly sliced unsalted leaf fat. Chicken fat has too low a melt point, salted fat alters the flavor and texture of the skin and meat.Neapolitan Roast Chicken (2)

  To make a Fine Roast of capons, cockerels, goat kid, and any other meat. First, if it is a large joint of meat, put it to boil unless it is young veal; if it is capon or any other meat that is worth setting to roast, make it clean, then plunge it into boiling water and take it out immediately and put it into cold water -that is done to make it better; then lard it with good lardo and mount it on the spit, cooking it slowly; then, when it is almost done, get a grated piece of bread and mix it with salt and coat the meat. In this way you will have it cooked fine.

1 large roasting chicken, well cleaned.

1 pot of water, simmering (with head room for the mass of the chicken)

3-4 oz thinly sliced leaf fat or sliced chilled chicken fat

3 oz breadcrumbs (home made)

salt

other seasonings you might like.

Blanch the chicken. It really does matter. If you have never done it before, please take the effort to try it once. It was done for humoural reasons (making a “hot dry” bird “cool moist” before roasting  “hot dry”)

Place the chicken in the roasting vessel, reserve the poaching water.

Lay the fat overtop of the skin. Maybe tuck a couple of pieces under the skin. I did, and I am glad, but be careful.

Place the unsalted chicken in the oven and roast til it is very nearly done.

Season the breadcrumbs while the chicken roasts. Use at least salt,

When you can smell it, pull the chicken out and sprinkle it liberally with the breadcrumbs.

Pop it back into the oven for the last 10-15 minutes, then when you pull it for the last time, allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

Carve and serve, placing the carcass in the poaching pot to make a lovely broth for future use.

I hope your dinner is as lovely as mine.

 

Recipe XXVI. One should roast a hen and cut it into pieces. Add to some broth lard, a little garlic, salt, and egg yolks, and cook the hen in this.

For a rare change, this recipe calls for the bird to be roasted before being simmered. Often, the meat is seethed first, for humoural reasons.

This was an old laying hen. They are difficult to acquire, but a guinea fowl will have a similar flavor and behave similarly.

Roast the chicken. I don’t have a spit available, because the weather is awful, so I spatchcocked the bird and roasted it with salt and pepper. Not that they are called for, but this bird is special and I wanted salt and pepper.

IMG_5256

After roasting, while it cooled, I broke the bird as best I could, This is not a tender bird.

Prepare the broth. If you wish to add fat, as called for, do not use modern bacon. it’s candied and smoked, rather than just salted.

Temper the yolks.IMG_5258

That’s a most-likely modern step, as the result of yolks that don’t curdle is not mentioned, but it’s worth a shot.

To temper yolks, allow the eggs to come to room temperature, and separate the yolks from the whites.

 Warm the broth, and while beating the yolks, add half-ounce portions of hot broth to the not-cold yolks. Keep beating.

Eventually, the yolks will be about the same temperature as the broth, and can be poured into the main pot.

Decide how much you like garlic, and simmer everything together for about a half hour on a reasonably low flame.

IMG_5259

1 hen, roasted and cooled.

1 quart broth, not skimmed. Lard or salt fat if you have it, but not modern bacon fat, which is candied and smoked.

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed (we like garlic!)

1 tsp salt, less if you are using salted fat, more if you like more.

3 yolks, beaten

Break the bird into serving portions which best suit your needs.

Place in pot with broth, garlic, fat, salt, and tempered yolks.

Simmer on low flame for approximately a half hour. If you have a tender, more modern bird, just simmer til warmed through.

The broth makes an excellent soup base, if you prefer not to re-use it for the same dish. Freeze between uses, and strain well, if you do choose to re-use it.

Excellent use of leftovers.

 

 

 

Grewe, Rudolf. Libellus De Arte Coquinaria: An Early Northern Cookery Book. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001. Print.

Salsa de Pago; Sauce for a Peacock
(too long to transpose)

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
Poached collops of chicken
served with a sauce of

¼ c chicken fat from poaching pot
4 oz onion
2 c chicken broth
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp grains of paradise, ground finely
¼ tsp cinnamon or ginger
1/8 tsp cloves,
1 pinch saffron
½ tsp salt
1 Tbs approx honey
1 Tbs approx Sour Orange juice

Collect fat from pot.
Fry onions in chicken fat.
Pour off frying fat.
Add dry spices to onions.
Sautee in residual fat.
Add chicken broth to the onions, simmer.
Add saffron water, bit by bit, til color shifts toward red.
Taste. Adjust. If too saffron-y, add chicken fat.
Add sour orange juice (modicum, not a lot)]
Taste.
Add honey to balance
Taste again.

Use immersion blender to homogenise if you wish.
It should be red/tan in color, with a pleasant sweet/acid balance from the
sauteed onions, the honey, and the sharp sour oranges.
If sour oranges are not available, try a blend of orange and lime, or
perhaps some grapefruit juice for home use.

Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 42-45. Print.

XIII. FOR TO MAKE BLANCHE BREWET DE ALYNGYN.

Nym kedys [1] and chekenys and hew hem in morsellys and seth hem in almand mylk or in kyne mylke grynd gyngyner galingale and cast therto and boyle it and serve it forthe.

Cut kid meat and chickens, and hew them into morsels, and seethe them in almond milk or in cattle milk.

Grind ginger and galangale, and cast thereto, and boil it and serve it forthwith.
We had an interesting gift recently. Someone very generously gave us some old laying chickens.. These birds were somewhere over three years old. I have fed them and collected their eggs. They were well cared for, and they earned their keep.

IMG_4982

I also had a lovely goat neck from a local farm.  This sounded like a perfect assemblage.

IMG_4983

Old chickens are not what we are accustomed to in the way of texture.. They have incredible chicken flavor, but there is nothing approaching tenderness about them.

Goat necks, no matter the age, are also challenging. They are hard to bone, have little meat, and are also quite the opposite of tender.

The only way I could reasonably deal with these items was to cook them whole, then bone them, then make the dish.

 

I poached the chicken and the neck together, in almond milk with galangale and ginger, for about an hour on a low temperature, with the lid on.

IMG_4990

After poaching, I allowed the pot to cool and put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. I wanted to carve the meat with care, and to waste none of it.

The chicken meat was very easy to remove from the bones, it lifted off cleanly, almost like a toy model.

The goat neck required some technique to carve neatly, but offered no fuss. The main thing to keep in mind that there are four sections of meat. If the knife follows the bone closely, there are two main tendons which must be seen to. If the meat is home butchered, make certain that things are visually tidy, as not all hunters are comfortable packaging neck roasts.

Once the meat was off of the bone, I cubed it into approximately 1″ cubes,

I placed all of the meat in a sautee pan with about two cups of almond milk. I added no salt, because of my concerns over the meat toughening further. I was parsimonious with ginger, as it is not good to one of my regular diners. About a half a teaspoon of galangale was used,

It took approximately 10 minutes for the almond milk to cook completely down, and the meat to heat fully through. I thought to add more almond milk, but tasting proved that there was no real need to do so.

We were both surprised by how tender the chicken was, The intense chicken flavor combined with the earthiness of the goat blended with the almond milk, and the galangale seemed to counteract any gamy flavors beautifully while allowing the richness to shine through.

It is a simple dish, in fact it reminded me a lot of the Tender Chickpeas recipe from a couple of years ago, which can be found at http://carbonadoes.com/2012/11/10/sent-sovi-chickpeas/

 

1 old hen or stewing chicken

1 neck of kid, lamb, or venison, about 3 lbs, bone on, whole or cut up.

1/2 gallon almond milk (if poaching and cooling), 2 c reserved for second cooking

1 tsp galangale

1/2 tsp ginger

A whole chicken will need 45 minutes to seethe, while a cut up chicken the same size could potentially cook in as little as 20 minutes.

place the chicken and the neck in a pot they fit somewhat snugly. Dust with spices, pour almond milk over.

Place pot on burner, seethe on low flame with a lid on. Take care to turn the meat a couple of times so it cooks evenly and does not stick.

Take care not to allow the meat to take color.

When the almond milk separates and the fat rises, check for doneness.

When done, turn off the heat and allow the meat to cool until it is comfortable to handle with your hands.

Remove the meat from the bones, cube somewhat coarsely. Be careful of shards, if you bought a cut up neck. They are tricky.

You can serve it now, warmed and in its broth, if it is sufficiently tender and to your liking.

If you feel the meat needs more time to become tender, place the cubed meat with the fresh almond milk and a fresh scattering of spices.

(Reserve the prior almond milk for a bukkenade or a blancmange. I used it for another bruet.)

Simmer the pot until the almond milk is mostly evaporated, but the meat is not completely dry. I chose to serve with a coarse bread, and a nice earthy root vegetable.

 

http://www.auxmaillesgodefroy.com/forme_of_cury

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.

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

 

Robin, Vogelzang. The Book of Sent Sovi: Medieval recipes from Catalonia. Tamesis Books, 2008. 191. Print.

 

a poached chicken breast and white pottage in a brown bowl.

finally, my brown bowls look good!

For the next several months, I will be focusing on Sent Sovi, not only because I like it, but because I am working on a group project which it complements reasonably well.

Being that one of the most mentioned dishes across times and places historically was Blancmange, “white food,” I decided to bite the bullet and make this well known sick-person’s dish. It’s long been a shorthand for us that “white food” is food lacking in flavor or depth. While this is a very mild dish, it is not bland.

The translation of Sent Sovi I have has an appendix with supplementary recipes, one of which is Menjar Blanc, “White Dish.” The appendix is listed as “Missing recipes from the Sent Sovi tradition included in the Llibre d’aparellar de menjar.”

It is a fairly long set of explanations for the dish and a variant. The first version looked like fun to start with, and turned out a surprisingly pleasant dish.

We were both surprised by how much we liked this dish. It was more than a mere porridge, about the texture of fresh made polenta.

 

It was not sweet, nor was it salty, it was very very chickeny. We ate all of the chicken, saved the extra pottage, and agreed to add more chicken to it for lunch the next day.

stirring the hot pot so no lumps result

boiling newtonian fluid.

Recipe: Menjar Blanc

Summary: a White Dish

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (one per person, usually)
  • 1 cup soaked, skinned almonds
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4-1/2 c rice flour
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 oven-worthy pot with a good lid

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 350*
  2. Flatten the chicken breasts gently, try not to break them.
  3. a chicken breast sandwiched between two paper towels, on a cutting board, with a flattening mallet coming down to flatten them.

    using layers of cloth or paper cuts down on cleanup considerably, and also protects against tearing the meat.

  4. Blender the almonds with the broth, pour all of the result into the pot.
  5. Add the chicken to the pot.
  6. Simmer gently.
  7. When the bubbles begin to rise, make a slurry of one cup almond broth taken from the pot and the rice flour,
  8. add the slurry back to the pot.
  9. Raise the heat until a proper boil starts, then put the lid on and place the dish in the oven.
  10. About 15 minutes in, add sugar and salt, stir the contents, move the pieces of chicken about.
  11. Every ten minutes or so, stir. The dish will thicken when the rice flour is fully cooked, which is reasonably in tune with the chicken’s timing.
  12. Remove the lid for the last 10 minutes, or turn on the broiler, and allow the surface and edges to brown. The instructions are adamant about the browning being essential to the quality of the flavor.
  13. Serve.

Ratings

+uses broth from poaching prior chicken

+ skinless, boneless breasts are perfect.

+ mild, but fulfilling, easy to balance with other dishes.

+ can bake other things in the oven at the same time (350* is a standard baking temp)

– almond milk is time consuming to make, slipping the skins takes forever.

– needs both stove and oven time (unless I work out a shortcut)

– needs stirring and attention, particularly for browning at the end

Preparation time:

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 3

My rating 4 stars:  ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

 

 

 

 

I'm referring to a website, please let me know if there is a better way.

http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/napier.txt

Capon or goos roste

 A Noble Boke off Cookry Title Statement:
 A Noble boke off cookry ffor a prynce houssolde or eny other estately houssolde :
reprinted verbatim from a rare ms. in the Holkham collection / edited by Mrs. Alexander Napier. London:
 Elliot Stock, 1882. Description: xiii, 136 p. ; 23 cm. LCCN: 88195361 Transcription by Daniel Myers -
 September 12, 2007 Completed and corrected on August 18, 2008 (c) 2008 MedievalCookery.com

 To rost capon or gose tak and drawe his leuer and
his guttes at the vent and his grece at the gorge and
tak the leef of grece parsly ysope rosmarye and ij lengs
of saige and put to the grece and hew it smale and hew
yolks of eggs cromed raissins of corans good poudurs
saffron and salt melled to gedure and fers the capon
there withe and broche hym and let hym be stanche
at the vent and at the gorge that the stuffur go not
out and rost hym long with a soking fyere and kep
the grece that fallithe to baist hym and kepe hym moist
till ye serue hym and sauce hym with wyne and
guingere as capons be.

 

a slice of chicken breast, a small metal bowl half full of red-wine based cameline sauce, and a quarter cup of minced herb-based stuffing on a light green plate

just needs a salad.

This recipe was chosen based on a convergence of a really lovely chicken entering the house just as I got some hyssop to familiarise myself with.

The site I found it on, http://www.medievalcookery.com/ , is excellent. I have not worked with this manuscript before, and look forward to spending more time with it.

 

Capons are the castrati of poultry. They are fat and tender, with lush meat.  I have a pasture chicken, which is far less fat than a capon would be and certainly not lush, it’s been running around and trying to fly.

This limits the amount of fat available for the recipe as well as the quantity of basting grease. Because of this, I basted with olive oil.

I do not cook with rosemary, so eliminated that herb, and was out of currants so used raisins, which we did have in the house.

After hard boiling and cooling my eggs, I separated out the yolks. I should have used more, as seven were not enough to completely fill the cavity. This was also impacted by the relative leanness of the bird I had, the fat from a capon would have given far more bulk to the stuffing.

a raw chicken in a plastic container in the background, in the foreground a pottery plate with fresh parsley and sage, a small pile of saffron, dried hyssop, a number of hard-boiled egg yolks and the fat pulled from inside the chicken.

mise en place

The instructions call for mincing the capon’s fat with the herbs and yolks, then stuffing the bird and sewing it shut to prevent the stuffing from falling out. As there is not enough stuffing to leak, and I am not roasting on a spit, I opted not to truss the bird.

A food processor made short work of the stuffing mixture, though it later turned out to have left the herbs somewhat twig-like. Next time, I will use a knife and mortar rather than the machine.

 

The chicken was cooked at 400* for a bit over an hour, then at 300 for another half hour, then allowed to rest for 15 minutes. I did this as a general emulation of spit-roasting and moving the meat from the fire.

It was served off the bone with cameline sauce and the stuffing.

 

a close-up shot of the whole, cooked chicken with a view of the stuffing inside

cooked to a turn, figuratively typing.

The instructions call for service to be sauced with wine and ginger. I made a cameline sauce using the guidelines from the same website, more on that another time.

While I found the flavor of the stuffing pleasant enough, the texture was displeasing between the mealiness of the egg yolks and the twigginess of the herbs. Again, the lack of chicken fat showed. W was not a fan of the stuffing at all, as he is not fond of herbal notes and this is quite herbal. He loved the poultry itself though.

 

Ratings;

took a good long time to cook, so an oven killer.

stuffing is wasteful of egg whites; perfect for serving when you are also doing a filled egg.

Capons cost more than a car, it seems.

Can’t taste or smell the saffron.

Needs more than a little fat in the stuffing, so save some from one bird to bolster the next

Tasty and attractive

Stuffing is flavorful and very evocative of 14th Century English food.

I would make this again if I needed to find a use for boiled egg yolks, and would go out of my way for a capon to serve this to honored guests, along with a variety of sauces, a salad with similar herbs, and a loaf of bread. It’s got a festive note with the attractively colored, rich stuffing.

 

Sent Sovi 91; Chickens

I will find nearly any excuse to roast a chicken. It’s so ingrained in my mind that it can be hard to talk myself into poaching one.

The idea of poaching in almond milk had been rattling around; I had been challenged to make a soup, and this had been one of the possibilities I had entertained.

The recipe calls for a pound of almonds (keep in mind the 12 ounce pound as opposed to the more modern 16 oz pound, though it’s less of a requirement to be precise with this recipe than some), which are boiled to slip the skins. The almonds were far less plump and giving than when they soak overnight, but the skins slipped easily and they did give enough almond milk to do the job. Often almonds are milked after a long soak, it was nice to have an excuse to use the expedient boiling method.

all of the ingredients needed for the dish measured and laid out; a bowl with almonds and saffron, a tin of saffron, a chicken, and some broth, not called for, but on hand for in case of lacking almond milk.

I broke out the saffron!


The almonds went through the blender with the parsley. This does make quite a different texture than that of a mortar and pestle, but health makes its own demands. don’t have the endurance required for pestle work.

I pressed the solids to get as much milk as I could, and it came up the color of a shamrock shake. It was honestly kind of scary looking.

a strainer contains the solids, the pot beneath the almond milk. It is a disconcerting shade of green, more a candy color than a broth shade.

almond milk. really.


Once this broth came to a low simmer, I added the chicken and popped a lid on top.
When it finished, the leg quarters fell off and were tender as can be, but the breast was moist and not in any way dry or stringy. It had a mild, clean flavor.
The green broth browned to a far less appealing color, nothing I could think of could save the appearance. The saffron brought it even further into the browns, unfortunately.
two chicken leg quarters in a bowl, in about an inch of broth. The broth, no longer a candy green, now has a brown and gold note to it.

tender, but no longer as vivid a shade of green.


The leftover was moist and pleasant, with a soft and refreshing flavor.

3 oz almonds
3 oz fresh (not dry) parsley)
1 chicken
a little saffron, if you wish
1 pot with snug lid

-not such a pretty service sauce, doesn’t really make a soup.
-needs to be well tended; over or under-poached chicken is sad and depressing
-makes it harder to repurpose bones for broth (almond allergy is common)
+ cheap ingredients
+ quick-fix almond milk
+ no undesirable chicken bits

Next time I make this, I will try soaking the almonds the night before, to see if the yield affects the product.