Rabbit with wine sauce or Conynges in syryp

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So I was looking for a simple recipe that uses rabbit. I even had ‘cony’ vs ‘rabbit’ on my list of blog ideas ready to check off. I thought explaining that ‘conynges’ ‘connynges’ ‘cony’ and ‘rabbit’ were the same thing, and even (small) hares were called cony sometimes, would fill a blog post and I would be done with it.

I then found “Conynges in syryp” from Fourme of Curye [Rylands MS 7] and my research nerd took over.

Wikipedia says the the Fourme of Curye is “is an extensive collection of medieval English recipes from the 14th century. Originally in the form of a scroll, its authors are listed as “the chief Master Cooks of King Richard II“. I focus on 16th century usually so this was a little outside my wheelhouse. The English has evolved a little from where Fourme starts us and the spelling is a little off.

The recipe:

.lxiij. Conynges in syryp.

Tak conynges & seeth hem wel in gode broth, tak wyne creke & do therto with a porcioun of vyneger & flour of canel, hoole clowes, quybybus hole, & othere
gode spyces with raysouns corance & ginger, y pared & mynced, tak up the conynges & smyte hem on pecys & cast hem in to the syryp & seeth hem a litull in the fyre and serve hit forth.

And now we break it down

  1. Tak conynges & seeth hem wel in gode broth
    Take rabbits and boil them well in a good broth. The broth adds a layer of different fat(s) which adds flavour to the dish, also salt. Ff the meat takes longer to cook than the wine sauce will this step makes sure you aren’t serving raw meat to your guests. Older rabbits and game meats benefit from boiling, or parboiling, to soften it up and remove any ‘green’ or wild-meat flavour.
  2. tak wyne creke
    Take Greek Wine, which is probably from Italy. Other versions of this recipe call it ‘greke’ instead of ‘creke’. You want a super sweet wine. I wonder if you could get away with using grape juice concentrate? I am not sure I’d risk it given the cost of rabbit.
  3. & do therto with a porcioun of vyneger
    and mix in a quantity of vinegar. This will take away the edge of the sweet wine and add a sour to the sweet and sour.
  4. & flour of canel, hoole clowes,
    and powdered cinnamon and whole cloves. Canel is derived from the Latin word cannella, a diminutive of canna, “tube” according to wikipedia.
  5. quybybus hole, & othere gode spyces
    cubeb (aka cubebus, tailed pepper, or quibibes) whole and other good spices. I will probably use whole black pepper and a mace flake as well.
  6. with raysouns corance
    with raisins, currants. the recipe, unlike 16th century ones, doesn’t call for sugar. The sweetness comes from the sweet wine and the dried fruit.
  7. & ginger, y pared & mynced,
    and ginger, pealed and minced. Which is interesting because I was always told that 14th century meant dried not fresh ginger (shame on me for not looking it up).
  8. tak up the conynges & smyte hem on pecys & cast hem in to the syryp & seeth hem a litull in the fyre and serve hit forth.
    take up the rabbits [out of the broth] and smite then into pieces and place them into the syrup [the wine sauce] and simmer them a little in the fire and serve it forth. Smite always means to cut up with a sword, obviously. If you cook the sauce too long the vinegar can fight with the wine and makes a pot of vinegar sauce.

I am glad we cleared all that up! I saved you the hour of trying to figure out what quybybus was, you are welcome.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 whole rabbit, or rabbit cut into pieces
  • enough beef broth to cover meat
  • 2 cups of sweet wine [edit: if you messed up and wine isn’t sweet, add some honey]
  • 1 tbsp-1/2 cup of grape vinegar (depending upon how sweet the wine)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, powdered
  • 5 cloves, whole
  • 5 cubebs, whole
  • 1 flake mace
  • 5 peppercorns whole
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1 inch of french ginger, minced

Directions:

  1. Take rabbit (pieces) and simmer them until cooked in a good broth. ~45 minutes. If using whole rabbit cut into pieces when cooked. Joints should easily pull apart.
  2. Place wine, vinegar, spices, and fruit into a large pot. Turn burner on medium low and bring to a simmer. Adjust the vinegar ratios by taste at this point.
  3. Add hot pieces of rabbit to sauce pot, turning pieces to coat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve falling-apart rabbit pieces with sauce.

It looks mushy but it tastes amazing. Really amazing.

Edit: if you don’t want it to fall apart in sauce, cook it less in step 1, or cook it less in step 3. Things I wish I’d done differently: deboned the hot rabbit completely in step 1. Modernly you could brown the rabbit pieces and treat the wine sauce as a braising. 

Why Parboiling? or To Bake Wilde Ducks

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Parboiling is a technique where you place something in a pot of water, bring the water to a boil and then remove the item. Why would so many medieval recipes call for parboiling meat, especially poultry?

For things like hearts or livers, or wild game, it removed the “gamey” or “green” taste. For things like duck or chicken this isn’t necessary, they don’t taste “gamey” in a bad way.

Poultry is most often described as choleric, a hot dry humour. One of the symptoms of and abundance of choler is vomiting.

Vomiting is also one of the symptoms of food poisoning. If one first parboiled the poultry, then roasted it, you are more likely to get the bird up to temperature required for eating, than by roasting alone. Sometimes fire runs hot and will burn the outside before the bird is cooked, parboiling would help insure the duck is cooked through.

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To Bake Wilde ducks. When they be fair dressed and perboiled, season them with Pepper and Salt, a few whole cloves amongst them, and Onions small minced, and sweet butter, vergious and a little sugar. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients
* 1 duck
* Pepper and salt to taste
* 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
* 2 onions minced
* 2 tbsp butter
*2 tbsp verjuice
* 1 tbsp raw cane sugar

Directions

  1. Place whole duck into a large pot and cover with water. Heat pot on high until pot comes to boil.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. Sprinkle duck with lots of salt, pepper and cloves.
  4. Mix onions, butter and sugar and stuff into cavity (or combine into a paste and spread over duck).
  5. Bake duck for 1 hour 30 minutes (or until internal temperature is 185F, and wings should pull away when twisted).
  6. Serve hot with onion stuffing.

 

Steak or Alaunder of Beef.

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Alaunder of beef. Take leches ( slices ) of the lengthe of a spoune, and take parcel and hewe fmal, and pouder of pepur, and maree, and tempur hit togedur, and take leeches of beef, and rolle hom therin, and laye hom on a gridirne, and on the coles tyl they ben rolled ; and if ye have no maree, take of the self talgh’ and hewe hit with the parcelle, tand tempur hit as ye dyd before. Antiquitates culinariae(1791) Ancient Cookery 1425

Maree, or sometimes spelled marie or mary, is marrow. Talgh’ is tallow and an amazing way to spell it. You could probably use butter, but marrow doesn’t really taste the same.

Rare steak is done cooking at 130-135°F; where as well done is 165°F.

Ingredients

  • 2 steaks (500 grams ish) room temperature
  • 2 tbsp of beef marrow (or tallow) fresh from bone melty or room temperature
  • 2 tbsp of parsley, minced or flakes
  • fresh black pepper to taste, ground (enough so you can smell it)

Directions

  1. Preheat grill on high temperature.
  2. Mix marrow, parsley, and pepper together on a plate.
  3. Roll the steak around in the marrow mixture, using a knife to help spread it evenly on both steaks.
  4. Grill steak ~2 minute per side. (1 minute was still bleeding, but grill to your taste).
  5. Serve hot*.

*with bread, its super greasy but amazing.

Edit: It has been pointed out to me that this recipe should be stuffed and rolled-up beef rolls that look like tiny birds. Beef should be very very thin to make this work and secured with a toothpick or skewer. 

Cheese and Onion Tart or Tart On Ember-day

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Tart on Ember-day. Parboyle onions, and sauge, and parsel, and hew hom small, then take gode .fatte chese, and bray hit, and do therto egges, and tempur hit up therwith; and do therto butter and sugur, and raisynges of corance, and pouder of ginger, and of canell; medel all this well togedur, and do hit in a coffyn, and bake hit uncovered and serve hit forthe. Richard Warner, Antiquitates culinariae(1791) Ancient Cookery 1425

Ember-day is a fast day the observant Christian medieval person would follow. It wasn’t fast that meant no-food, but fast meaning no meat. If you are looking for vegetarian recipes “ember” or “in lent” are useful terms to know.

Often you see this recipe with the typo “fauge” instead of “sauge” throwing all sorts of confusion into the mix. There is no herb ‘fauge’ (probably) but there are calligraphy ‘s’ that looks like ‘f’.

Onions being dry and hot of course respond well to being parboiled. It also takes away some of the cooking time and bitterness of the onions. When chopping the cooked onions be careful, they are very slippery*. If you chop them before parboiling you will add a lot more moisture to the pie unless you drain them really well.

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Ingredients
* 4 onions, peeled
* 1 tsp sage
* 1 tsp parsley
* 300 ml soft goat cheese
* 4 eggs
* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
*  2 tbsp currants
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 deep dish pie crust

Directions:
1) Place peeled onions into a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring onions to rolling boil. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool before chopping each onion into small pieces (makes about 3 cups of chopped onion)

2) Preheat oven to 350.

3) Mix chopped onions, herbs, cheese, eggs, butter, sugar, currants and spices together. Use the herbs and currants to gauge when it is evenly mixed.

4) Pour onion mixture into pie crust and bake for 1 hour, until pie is golden brown, and middle is cooked. Serve hot or cold.

* yes I cut myself chopping the onions. 

Basil & Ginger Meringue or How to Make a White Roman Tart

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This savory tart should be fluffy not dense. If a dense tart was wanted the cook would use:

  1. egg yolks not whites and
  2.  hard cheese not creamed

All ingredients should be room temperature (except the melted butter).

The recipe calls for adding foam and carefully not adding the liquid left after beating. This liquid is water. With the creamed cottage cheese being so wet, the pie would take longer to cook or become soggy if more liquid was added.

The rest of the redaction choices are easy–the cook gives very precise measurements.

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To make a white Roman tart. Take a pound of white cheese of cream, then take the whites of six eggs, & beat then well until a foam forms on the surface like snow, & let a little stay in without beating, then take the foam from thereon, & cast it into the cheese, then beat the whites at the top until again foam forms on the surface like the first time, & cast onto the cheese, & make again two or three times as such, then take two ounces of melted butter, a little ginger, a little chopped basil, & make the tart, & cook like the others. Master Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de Cuisine (1604)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb cottage cheese, creamed
  2. 2 branches basil, stems removed, chopped small
  3. 1 tsp ginger, grated
  4. 2 oz butter, melted
  5. 6 egg whiles from small eggs (1/2 cup), whipped
  6. 1 deep dish pie crust

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Pour cheese into large bowl, then cover with basil, ginger, and butter but do not mix. Then cover with egg whites and gently fold ingredients together. The basil will be bright green and show if the batter has been mixed together.
  3. Slowly pour batter into pie shell. Its ok if the mixture is taller than the crust, it is more or less the final height on the tart.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or meringue is browned and doesn’t have a liquid-jiggle in the middle when pan is tapped.
  5. Serve hot or once cooled.

Modern: make it in little ramkin dishes as souffles because OMG adorable. 

Stuffed Beef Rolls or ‘To Make Alloes Of Beef’

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This is the simplest version of Alloes of Beef that I have found. Daniel Myers covers beef rolls with more ingredients, including boiled egg yolks, and a sour sauce, on his web page. Myers lists three additional sources for the reader to play with if they desire.

To make Alloes of beef. Take lene beef and cut hym in thyn pecys and lay hit on A borde then take sewet of motton or of beef and herbys and onyons hackyd small to gether then straw thy leshes of beef with powder of pepur and a lytell salt and strew on thy sewet and the herbys. And rolle them up ther yn put them on a broche and roste them and serue them up hote. Gentyll manly Cokere (MS Pepys 1047) (1500)

Ingredients
* 1/4 cup suet, broken into pieces
* 2 small onions or one large, minced small
* 2 heaping tablespoons dried sage
* 2 heaping tablespoons dried parsley
* 1 kilo (6) thin beef “inside and sandwich” steaks
* pepper to taste
* salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix suet, onions, sage, and parsley together. Set aside.
  3. Lay a piece of long thin beef out onto a large cutting board. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the meat with a generous handful of the suet mixture along its length. Roll up a fat beef roll and then skewer to hold in place. Place it in a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Repeat for each steak. Optional: Dump any left over filling onto the nested beef rolls. 
  4. Bake beef rolls on 350 for 50 minutes, or  beef filling reaches 165°F, and onions are softened.
  5. Serve them up hot.

Modernly you could probably put the filling ingredients through a food processor and brush on more of a flavouring sauce than a stuffing. If you used beef sliced for fondu and the sauce you could have small appetizers on toothpicks instead of a main course.  

Roasted Chicken with Apples, Currants and Barberries

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Barberries look like goji berries, they taste like dried cranberries simmered in lemon juice. You can buy them (and verjuice)  at specialty groceries, like a Mediterranean Grocery Shop.

I again used my clay cooker to roast my chicken but you can use any roasting pan with a cover. Always cook chicken up to 165 F.

To bake chickins. First season them with cloves & mace, pepper and salt, and put to them currans and Barberies, and slitte an apple and cast synamon and suger upon the apple, and lay it in the bottome, and to it put a dish of butter, and when it is almost enough baked, put a little suger, vergious and orenges. Thomas Dawson, The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (1597)

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples cut into slices
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp raw can sugar
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 tsp mace, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter

Stuffing:

  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1/3 cup dried barberries
  • 1 apple cored and coarsely chopped

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp verjuice
  • 1/4 cup of sour orange juice

Directions

  1. Soak clay roaster for 15 minutes to hours
  2. Place apple slices onto the bottom of your clay roaster, cover with 1/2 tsp sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Mix stuffing ingredients, currants, barberries, and chopped apple together.
  4. Place chicken on top of the apple slices. Put stuffing mixture inside bird cavity. Sprinkle cloves, mace, pepper, salt over the top of the bird. Dab the butter all over the top of the bird.
  5. Place lid on the clay cooker and place into cold oven. Heat oven to 420 and bake chicken for 90 minutes, or until bird reaches 165 F, and legs or wings twist off easily.
  6. Mix 1 tbsp of sugar, verjuice, and orange juice together.
  7. Take cook bird out of oven and turn off oven, and close oven door. Gently pour sauce over chicken, recover and return to still warm oven until you are ready to serve.
  8. Serve with stuffing, sauce and drippings from pan.