a freshly baked pie in a pan. Covered in dried fruit in a geometric pattern, it is in a ceramic dish.

The Good Housewife’s Jewell

To make a veale pie.
Let your Veale boyle a good while, and
when it is boyled, mince it by it selfe,
and the white, by it selfe, and season it with
salt and pepper, cinamon and ginger, and
suger, and cloues and mace, and you muste
haue prunes and raisons, dates & currantes
on the top.

I used a prefab pie crust. There. I said it. I used a prefab, came in a box, frozen crust, leftover from my Mom’s thanksgiving baking, and I won’t do it again. It was a false expediency and unpleasant to work with.
That aside, the rest of the pie was pretty lovely.

We scored a nice ceramic pie pan from a clearance rack, and a breast of veal from a confused vendor, and the rest of the goods we had in stock. (I had the thought of tracking how long my staples last, but because we are feeding so few, I don’t think it would help anyone.)

The breast of veal went into a pot of water which seethed for about 30 minutes on low.
After the pink of it faded and it stopped looking raw around the bones, I allowed it to cool while I prepared the pie crust.
I opted not to blind-bake this crust, though I normally would. To blind bake, prepare a crust, place it in the pan, and bake til brown. Sometimes weights such as beans (cannot be reused for anything else) or specially made ceramic balls are needed to keep the shell from blistering or pulling away from the pan.

While this was happening, my dried fruits, which are very very dry, were soaking up some wine. I sliced the dates the long way to ensure they had no pits, as well.

I received a lovely new mortar and pestle, which made much shorter work of my whole spices than anything prior. The shape of the pestle is very aggressive. I actually achieved fully powdered whole cloves for the first time!

Then I began to prepare the meat. I boned the breast of veal as best I could, and rather than putting the meat into a grinder, I took two knives and whacked it methodically til it was fully minced. This process took about 10 minutes, mostly because I took my time and was very careful.

Unfortunately, my veal had very little fat. It’s so hard to get, and so expensive, that there was no way to source veal fat without some serious gymnastics.
I had to get some form of binder, carrier, and moistener into the dish without use of the fat which naturally would have come with a more appropriate cut, and chose egg whites. Therefore this recipe is a more distant adaptation.

1 breast of veal, about 2.5 lbs w bones
2 egg whites
1 tsp cinnamon
6 cloves
3 leaves of mace
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

½ cup gewurtztraminer (or what is on hand)
6 prunes
6 dates
1TBS raisins
1 TBS currants

1 pie crust
Heat oven to 350*
Place dried fruit in wine. Set aside.
Roll the pie crust into the pan. Cover with a dampened linen towel or plastic wrap.

Place meat in poaching vessel, almost cover with water. Simmer, turning as needed, til it no longer shows evidence of having rawness.
Remove from heat, allow to cool. (return bones to liquid to make broth after boning meat out, for another dish)
When the meat is cool, mince it or grind it.

a ball of chopped meat in a bowl. It is about the size of a grapefruit. Being parcooked, it is an unappetising color.

parcooked meat, hand minced.

Measure spices, grind or crush if needed, place in a bowl.
Add the egg whites to the same bowl, and whip until the spices are evenly incorporated.

two bowls, one of fruit in wine, one of careful, measured piles of spices in a bowl.

dried fruit soaking, spices ground and measured

Fold the eggs into the meat until evenly incorporated.

Place the meat mixture into the pie crust, and decorate with the soaked dried fruits. Feel the fruits as you go for pits.

Bake at 350* until your meat thermometer gives a 140* reading.

We had this pie with the pear dish posted last week, which was a nice match. (Good Housewife’s Jewell has an iteration called To Preserve Wardens.)
It held overnight in the fridge very well, and reheated admirably.

two slices of pie on plates to be served, the remainder of the pie in the baking pan.

The pie was aromatic and lovely.

This is an excellent picnic dish.

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.

Sauce for a Gos
A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke
Compiled by John L Anderson
Page 68

and
Salsa D’Oques, Goose Sauce
Sent Sovi

The Cookry Boke is a compilation of recipes from manuscripts commonly referred to as Harleian and Ashmolean, some owned by the British Museum, others by the Bodleian Library. These manuscripts contain many recipes, and are a kind of rosetta stone for cooks, having several touchstones of information to use as reference points. It’s quite common for these books, being from different countries and different centuries, to have related recipes. Some are more recognisable as being of a type than others.

This concept is interesting and simple; stuff a game bird with garlic, grapes, parsley and salt. When the bird is done, beat in cooked egg yolks, then add verjus, season, and serve.

grapes, herbs, a duck, garlic, and eggs assembled for preparation in bowls and dishes.

 

The Sent Sovi is quite similar, in that it calls for garlic, raisins and salt to be placed in the bird before roasting, then to pound it together with egg yolks and almond milk, spice it, cook it again, and finally add verjus and chicken livers.

The recipes are obviously similar, but one is either short-hand or simply a basic theme, while the Spanish iteration is explicit in direction, far more elaborate, and festive. It is more likely to be intended as a meal when there are guests than a regular offering.

We prepared the grape-based dish, and found it to be very well balanced, easy to make both in and out of the bird, and a lovely complement to the richness of the meat.

completed roast stuffed duck in a close fitting pan. The skin is scored to allow fat to drain.

roasted and ready for plating.

One thing to be aware of is what grapes might have been available at the time the recipe was developed. We had no options available but red seedless, though these do not have great flavor. I strongly suggest avoiding concords unless they grow in your yard, they have a very distinct flavor and are native to the US.

If you use a seeded grape, you may wish to run them through a food mill to remove the seeds after roasting and before blending.

Recipe

Recipe: Sauce for a Gos

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup garlic
  • 1/2 cup grapes
  • 1/2 cup whole fresh parsley, loosely packed
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 3 hard egg yolks (see note)
  • 1/2 cup verjus, red wine, or red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. Stuff the bird with the grapes, garlic, parsley and salt, roast til done.
  2. Alternative; sautee the above ingredients together in a bit of poultry drippings or oil.
  3. When the garlic is translucent and the grapes are ready to burst, remove and cool.
  4. Blend with the three hard boiled egg yolks, adding verjus as needed to make it into a sauce.
  5. There is not enough fat in this to emulsify into a mayonnaise-like consistency, it will be runny. Don’t worry if it doesn’t develop body.
  6. Slice the meat to be served and drizzle the sauce over it.

Number of servings (yield): 2

 

(Note for the eggs. Make 6 hard boiled eggs and save the whites from the ones you need for this recipe, make stuffed eggs. I’ll be posting that recipe in the not too distant future.)

After roasting, I found that the stuffing had not cooked to my preferences for food-safety, so I put it into a small pan on the stovetop til it was fully cooked.

Then, in a blender, I put three hard egg-yolks (saved the whites for lunch the next day) and added a fresh, red verjus.

Whipping in the blender did not emulsify the sauce, though I thought there might be a possibility that a mortar and pestle might create more of a creamy texture.

sliced breast of duck on a green plate, napped with a tan sauce with flecks of green herbs. The sauce is about the texture of hollandaise.

serving portion, waiting for sides and accompaniments.

+Verjus is not so acid as to unbalance the dish
+Eggs bring the sauce together
+Grapes, garlic and parsley tie into a very pleasant flavor.
+The sauce can be made in a pan or pot with broth, with little loss of flavor
+Most components are easily prepared in advance
+Doesn’t separate too quickly, and while it’s best hot, doesn’t suffer from being served tepid.
+The colors can easily be manipulated into something heraldic, if that amuses you