Pompions and Squash Soup

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Halloween is Friday. Some of us might be struggling to use the left overs from carved pumpkin decorations in medieval flavoured recipes.

Henry Butte’s describes ‘pompions’ in Dyets Dry Dinner, 1599. He uses the Latin: Melones seu Melopepones, to clarify which fruit he was discussing, which is not the modern pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo or Cucurbita maxima), nor is it proper Latin for any thing else. It gives one hope, or plausible deniability, if you want to go forward, but not good scholarship.

Winter squashes and gourds (family Cucurbita) appear in art and in recipes in many places pre-1600, even though they were seemingly all brought to England from the new world. A lot of recipes for one type of new world squash work with a different brightly coloured, starchy vegetable.

Here are 3 recipes, only slightly different, for you to try.
Gourdes In Pottage.
Take young Gowrdes pare hem and kerue hem on pecys. cast hem in gode broth, and do þer to a gode pertye of Oynouns mynced. takePork soden. grynd it and alye it þer with and wiþ zolkes of ayrenn. do þer to safroun and salt, and messe it forth with powdour douce. Forme of Cury 1390

Ingredients

  • 4 cups winter squash, peeled, and cubed
  • 8 cups broth made from beef or pork bones
  • 1 cup onions, chopped fine
  • 1 cup ground pork, made into meat balls
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon, powdered
  • 0.5 tsp ginger, powdered
  • 0. tsp pepper, powdered

Directions

  1. Bring sauce pan to medium heat, add squash, broth, and onions. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and add pork balls, saffron, and salt, to simmer until squash is soft and meat is cooked.
  3. Remove 1/2 cup of the squash mixture and add the two egg yolks to this smaller portion, mixing well. Pour egg mixture into larger squash soup, stirring well. Simmer until soup thickens.
  4. Mix cinnamon, ginger and pepper together and garnish soup.
  5. Serve hot.

Pottage Of Gourds
Potage of gouidys. Take yonge gourdys, and pare hom clene, and wash hom in hote watur, when thai byn cut on peces, and do hom in a pot, and do therto godebroth, and mynfe onyons and do therto, and let hom seth ; then take soden porke and grynde hit final, and tempur it with rawe yokes of eyren, and put hit to the potage, and colour hit wyth saffron and serve hit forthe, and caste thereon pouder douce. Ancient Cookery, 1425

Ingredients

  • 4 cups winter squash, peeled, and cubed
  • 8 cups broth made from beef or pork bones
  • 1 cup onions, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped bacon, cooked crispy
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon, powdered
  • 0.5 tsp ginger, powdered
  • 0. tsp pepper, powdered

Directions

  1. Bring sauce pan to medium heat, add squash, broth, and onions. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and bacon bits to simmer until squash is soft.
  3. Remove 1/2 cup of the squash mixture and add the two egg yolks to this smaller portion, mixing well. Pour egg mixture into larger squash soup, stirring well. Simmer until soup thickens.
  4. Mix spices together and garnish soup.
  5. Serve hot.

Gourd Soup
Gourd…Eat it with pepper, mustard, vinegar, or hot herbs, as onions and parsley.” Henry Buttes 1599

Ingredients

  • 4 cups winter squash, peeled, and cubed
  • 8 cups broth made from beef bones, including marrow
  • 1 cup onions, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 0.5 tsp pepper, powdered
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Bring sauce pan to medium heat, add squash, broth, onions, parsley, vinegar, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and simmer until squash is soft.
  3. Cream ingredients together.
  4. Serve hot.
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Bean Soup

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Its a dreary, rainy, all day here in Ottawa. Hearty soup is just the thing to warm a body from the inside out. The trick with soup is adding enough fat, and giving the flavours the leisure time to blend together.

These 3 recipes can be made in a crockpot the day of feast. Soup is also a super easy campfire recipe.

You can make your own broth using veggies or beef bones. I like the flavour of the beef marrow more than any package broth. If you are using marrow bones for the broth omit the butter because marrow is fatty enough.

Galen’s recipe should be used with fava beans, or possibly chickpeas. Rumpolt in 1581 probably had access to a wide range of new world beans to flavour his soup.

3rd Century: Bean Soup

“Another preparation in the style of Treviso. Put boiled beans, shelled, to cook with salted meat, and with pepper and saffron.” 
Galen (AD 129 – 216)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of salted pork belly (or fat back), coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (19 oz) fava beans
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat soup pot on medium high, add pork when pot is hot and lightly brown the pieces of meat.
  2. Cover the pork with 4 cups of water.
  3. Add rest of ingredients, bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot.

16th Century: Simple Ginger & Bean Soup

Roman beans you can prepare on a meat day/ shells included with a beef broth/ ginger and butter. But if it is on a fast day/so cook it with peabroth/ pepper and butter so they become lovely and good. “ Marx Rumpolt, 1581

Ingredients

  • 4 cups beef broth (or veggie broth)
  • 2 cans of beans (19 oz. each), drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoon butter (or marrow)
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat soup pot on medium high. Put all ingredients in pot, stir.
  2. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer soup for 20 minutes.
  3. Serve hot.

16 Century: Beans season with bacon and  herbs

“Beans cooked with beef broth and bacon/ that is cut small also with green well tasting herbs/ that are chopped small.” Marx Rumpolt, 1581

Ingredients

  • 2 strips of bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 cups beef broth (or veggie broth)
  • 2 cans of beans (19 oz. each), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups herbs finally chopped (spinach, chard, parsley, rosemary, mint, basil, etc)
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat soup pot on medium high, add bacon when pot is hot and lightly brown the pieces of meat.
  2. Put all ingredients in pot, stir.
  3. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer soup for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve hot.

Apple Sauce

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Apples being the forbidden fruit is an assumption that the pun loving ancient scholars jumped to because the Latin for apple is ‘mala‘ and the Latin for evil is ‘malum‘.

I like the argument for fig being the forbidden fruit, inferred because Eve reached for something nearby, fig leaves, once enriched with knowledge. Also figs look like testicles.

Fall is the perfect time to make apple sauce, and if you have the skill, can some for use over the winter. Here are 3 recipes for 3 different flavours of apple sauce.

14th Century: Appulmoy

Appulmoy. XX.III. XIX. Take Apples and seeþ hem in water, drawe hem thurgh a straynour. take almaunde mylke & hony and flour of Rys, safroun and powdour fort and salt. and seeþ it stondyng. Forme of Cury, 1390

Ingredients

  • 10 apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped into quarters
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • pinch each of saffron, salt, cloves, and cinnamon

Directions 

  1. Heat sauce pan on medium. Add 2 cup of water and the apple chunks. Heat apple chunks until they start to fall apart and have softened, stirring often.
  2. Strain the apples, and add the almond milk, honey, rice flour and spices to pot, reduce heat to low.
  3. Simmer apple mixture until it is reduced to a sauce, stirring and using the spoon to help break up the apples.
  4. Serve hot or cold.

15th Century: Apple & Almond Sauce

Again, emplumeus of apples: to give understanding to him who will make it, take good barberine apples according to the quantity of it which one wants to make and then pare them well and properly and cut them into fair gold or silver dishes; and let him have a fair, good, and clean earthen pot, and let him put in fair clean water and put to boil over fair and clear coals and put his apples to boil therein. And let him arrange that he has a great quantity of good sweet almonds according to the quantity of apples which he has put to cook, and let him blanch, clean, and wash them very well and put them to be brayed in a mortar which does not smell at all ofgarlic, and let him bray them very well and moisten them with the broth in which the said apples are cooking; and when the said apples are cooked enough draw them out onto fair and clean boards, and let him strain the almonds with this water and make milk which is good and thick, and put it back to boil on clear and clean coals without smoke, and a very little salt. And while it boils let him chop his said apples very small with a little clean knife and then, being chopped, let him put them into his milk, and put in a great deal of sugar according to the amount that there is of the said emplumeus of apples; and then, when the doctor asks for it, put it in fair bowls or pans of gold or silver. Du fait de cuisine, 1420

Ingredients:

  • 10 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped roughly into quarters
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Place 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and toss in apple pieces. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.
  2. Once apples are soft enough to break apart with a fork, carefully poor off the water into a blender. Leave apple pieces in hot pot but remove from heat.
  3. Add almond meal into apple-water, let soak for 5 minutes. Once soaked blend the almond meal like crazy for 10 full minutes or until you can’t stand the sound any more.
  4. Strain the almond meal back out of the almond milk with a mesh strainer, and put the milk into the cooked apples. I often cheat and add the meal back in as well because I like the texture, however this is not true to the original recipe.
  5. Add the sugar and simmer the apples in the almond milk until they are broken up completely, and the broth is thickened. Use forks wooden spoons to encourage the apples to fall apart,
  6. Serve hot or cold.

16th Century: Aniseed Apple Sauce

Roast, baked, stewed, powdered with sugar and aniseed comfits; or else Saccharum Rosatum upon them Henry Buttes 1599

Ingredients:

  • 10 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp anise, ground
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp anise candy for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat sauce pan on medium, add one cup of water and the chopped fruit, the anise, and the sugar.
  2. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stirring often to break up fruit until it is smoothly incorporated into the water, and the sugar has also dissolved.
  3. Chill sauce. Serve with colorful anise candy for garnish.

Pigeons

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It might be tempting, if you live in the city, to try to hunt pigeons on your own. Although very rustic, this approach to gathering feast ingredients is strictly not recommended. Try an Asian grocery store instead.

You could use chickens, or other poultry, instead of pigeons in the following 3 recipes but the flavour of the different birds is not the same. These delicate birds are tasty, with a rich flavour somewhat like duck or emu. 

14th Century: Pigeons in Orange Sauce

And for an orange sauce with chicken, or partridge, or pigeon, take oranges and cut them up in white verjus and white wine, and put them to boil; and put ginger to boil, and put your pieces in it to boil. Le Menagier de Paris, quoted in Pleyn Delit by Hieatt, Hosington, and Butler. Recipe #93

Ingredients

  • 2 pigeons, whole
  • 2 cup of wine
  • 1/4 cup of white verjuice (use more wine, or more sour oranges, if you don’t have any, its a hard product to substitute)
  • 4 sour oranges sliced, seeds removed
  • 4 slices of dried ginger pieces
  • Salt

Directions

  1.  Place birds in large sauce pan, with lid. Pour rest of ingredients in with birds. Top up with water so that birds are covered. Bring birds to boil.
  2. Turn down heat to low and let birds simmer with lid on for about 45 minutes or they come up to temperature. The internal temperature for cooked pigeon should be around 165 degrees. This is similar to poultry.
  3. Remove pigeons from sauce to carve.
  4. Serve pieces with orange sauce.

16 Century: Baked Pigeons

To bake pigeons. Season them with Pepper and Salt and butter.
The Good Huswifes Jewell (1596)

Ingredients

  • 2 whole pigeons
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • Pepper, fresh ground, to taste
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place pigeons in baking dish. Cover each bird with butter, pepper and salt.
  3. Bake for 1 hour, until birds come up to temperature. The internal temperature for cooked pigeon should be around 165 degrees.

16th Century: Pigeons with Plum Sauce

Pigeons…Boiled in fat flesh broth, with verjuice, plums, sour cherries… Dyets Dry Dinner 1599

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of broth made from beef bones
  • 2 whole pigeons
  • 1/4 cup verjuice
  • 8 plums, pitted, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cherries, pitted, chopped

Directions

  1.  Pour beef broth into a large pot. Submerge whole pigeons into broth, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer pigeons for 45 minutes to 1 hour until pigeons reach 165 degrees.
  2. Warm a cast iron frying pan on medium heat. Place rest of ingredients into a the pan, then reduce heat to medium low. They should simmer together until fruit is broken down, similar to apple sauce. Stir often to assist.
  3. Remove cooked pigeons from broth and carve up portions.
  4. Plate pigeons with sauce.

Ye Olde Deviled Eggs

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Stuffed eggs, are ancient treats. Possibly served in the best parties without pants in ancient Rome, as well as the best parties where finger foods are licked off of dainty fingers today.

Modern ‘Deviled Eggs’ are simple and bland compared to earlier versions. Here herbs and tang are combined, sometimes with dried fruit, for a flavorful morsel.

The herbs and oil in each of the 3 recipes take away the dry texture of the yolks and make this a simple dish fit for a King.

13th Century: Savoury Devilled

Take as many eggs as you like, and boil them whole in hot water; put them in cold water and split them in half with a thread. Take the yolks aside and pound cilantro and put in onion juice, peper and coriander, and beat all this together with Murri, and oil and salt until it forms a dough. Then stuff the whites with this and fasten it together, insert a small stick into each egg, and sprinkle them with pepper.” An Anonymous Andalusian cookbook of the 13th century, translated from the original Arabic by Charles Perry found in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Recipes edited by David Freeman and Elizabeth Cook. http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD/eggs-stuffed-msg.html

Ingredients

  • 8 Eggs, hard boiled, shelled
  •  1 tsp cilantro,
  • 2 tsp onion juice, (one whole onion creamed in food processor than strained will give you about 2 tsp of onion juice)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (murri),
  • 3 tsp olive oil,
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper

1. Cut each egg in half (thread works best for this job). Remove yolks, placing them in food processor. Set egg whites aside on a platter.

2. Add cilantro, onion juice, fish sauce, oli oil, and salt to eggs and blend well.

3. Put spoonfuls of egg yolk mixture into egg white halves, garnish with pepper.

15th Century: Cheese and Raisin stuffed eggs

Make fresh eggs hard by cooking for a long time. Then, when the shells are removed, cut the eggs through the middle so that the whole white is not damaged. When the yolks are removed, pound part with raisins and good cheese, some fresh, some aged. Reserve part to color the mixture, and also add a little finely cut parsley, marjoram, and mint. Some put in two or more egg whites with spices. When the whites of the eggs have been stuffed with this mixture and closed, fry them over a slow fire in oil. When they have been fried, add a sauce made from the rest of the egg yolks pounded with raisins and moistened with verijuice and must. Put in ginger cloves, and cinnamon and heat them a little while with the eggs themselves. This has more harm than good in it. “ Eggs stuffed with cheese, raisins, & herbs – Original recipes from De honesta voluptate: http://www.godecookery.com/friends/frec71.htm

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs, hard boiled, shells removed
  • 4 tbsp soft cheese
  • 2 tbsp small raisins or dried currants
  • 4 tbsp combination of sweet herbs like parsley, marjoram, and mint finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1) Cut each egg in half (A thread works best for this). Put yolks aside in a bowl. Arrange whites on a platter.

2) Add cheese, fruit, herbs and spices to yolk, combine until it makes a batter.

3) Put spoonfuls of yolk mixture to each egg white half to serve. The original calls for re-heating mixture and making a sauce. I think it makes the eggs rubbery, but please experiment.

17th Century: Farced Eggs

Eggs farced. Take sorrell, alone if you will, or with other herbs, was and swing them, then mince them very small, and put between two dishes with fresh butter or passe them in the panne; after they are passed, soak and season them; after your farce is sod, take some hard eggs, cut them into halfs, a crosse, or in length, and take out the yolks, and mince them with your farce, and after all is well mixed, stew them over the fire, and put to it a little nutmeg, and served garnished with the whites of your eggs which you may make brown in the pan with brown butter.” François Pierre La Varenne, Le Cuisinier françois (1651) at translation found http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD/eggs-stuffed-msg.html

Ingredients

  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of fresh bitter herbs (i.e. green onion, sorrel, dandelion, savoury, chicory, borage, etc) chopped
  • Dash of nutmeg

1) Cut peeled eggs in half (cutting with a string works best), and place the yolks into a mixing bowl. Set aside the egg whites on a platter.

2) Heat pan on medium. Melt butter than sauté herbs until wilted.

3) Reduce heat on pan to low. Add the yolks, to the hot herb mixture stirring well, until mixture thickens and forms a dough like texture.

4) Spoon herb mixture into the egg white halves, and serve warm or cold.