Chicken with Broth or “To seeth Hennes and capons in Winter, in whitebroth. “

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So when redacting a recipe sometimes the author puts in fantastic instructions that answer the “white kind?” question. In this simple boiled chicken recipe the author calls for a “white broth” which means white bread to thicken not brown, grape verjuice not crabapple or something colourful.

This recipe is also a good example of using various different meats, or meat fats, to create flavours. Mutton bones added to the hens layers flavours without the added expense of a good cut of mutton.

To seeth Hennes and capons in Winter, in whitebroth. Take a neck of mutton & a marow bone, and let them boile with the Hennes togither, then take Carret roots, and put them into the pot, and then straine a little bread to thick the pot withall and not too thicke, season it with Pepper & vergious, and then cover them close and let them boyle togither, then cut Sops and put the broth and the marrow above, and so serve them. A.W. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients

  • mutton broth made from fatty bones or mutton bones
  • 1 or 2 small chickens
  • 12 rainbow carrots or white carrots
  • 1/4 cup grape verjuice (lots of verjuice make the carrots bitter, but compliments the fats)
  • Lots of Pepper to taste, fresh ground
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I think if you need to ground almonds or oats would work)
  • Bread to serve**

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into pot with enough broth (or water if you have bones) to cover. Bring to boil and then drop temperature to simmer until chicken comes up to temperature (165° F / 75° ) and joints easily turn, and meat is falling off bone ~90 minutes.

** cut into sops here could be that the chicken is sliced like sops and then the other ingredients are piled on top. I like using the sliced bread definition of sops when there is a broth/sauce like this. 

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4 thoughts on “Chicken with Broth or “To seeth Hennes and capons in Winter, in whitebroth. “

  1. shyska

    Is there a difference between white carrots and parsnips? What about roasting chicken versus stewing hen in terms of the taste of this recipe completed?

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    • Medievally they didn’t really differentiate between carrots and parsnips, well not in the herbals I’ve read. Roasting on a fire risks burning the outside and raw middle for them, for us and our BBQs we can do it without worrying. We also aren’t trying to counteract Chickens HOT DRY humours with water too. Modernly we’d sear the chicken before stewing so the chicken is more flavourful, but I cooked the chicken until it fell apart so it would be less dry (in the modern sense) or tough. THis dish needs salt btw.

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  2. shyska

    I’ve only rarely seen stewing hens for sale here. I was wondering which kind you used, and if it made a difference which kind of chicken; if you used a stewing hen or the chickens sold whole that most people roast in the oven. Stewing hen is usually boiled, afaik.

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