Kidney Bean Soup or “Kidney Beans”

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So I have a lot of onions so I am making Tart for an Ember Day and other things with onions. I remain ever hopeful to find onion jam in medieval England.

I found this following (onion) recipe on medievalcookery.com:

This is an excerpt from The Neapolitan recipe collection
(Italy, 15th c – T. Scully, trans.)
The original source can be found at University of Michigan Digital General Collection

Kidney Beans. Cook the kidney beans in pure water or in good broth; when they are cooked, get finely sliced onions and fry them in a pan with good oil and put these fried onions on top [of the beans] along with pepper, cinnamon and saffron; then let this sit a while on the hot coals; dish it up with good spices on top.

Can you image being a 15th century cook, given the responsibility of cooking this exotic ingredient called “Kidney Beans”? Modern cooks who take cooked then canned kidney beans for granted may not realize the prep required to use dried kidney beans.

Health Canada says:

Minimizing exposure to lectins in dry red kidney beans
* Soak (rehydrate) dry red kidney beans in a volume of water 2 to 3 times greater than the volume of beans for at least 5 hours. Discard the water used for soaking.
* Cook pre-soaked kidney beans by boiling vigorously for at least 10 minutes.
* Note: Slow cookers and crock pots do not reach sufficiently high temperatures to destroy lectins, and therefore should not be used to cook dry red kidney beans.

So the precook isn’t listed in the above recipe. This is where we deviate from the original for health reasons. Not ever cook I’ve talked to know this information, so I am sharing.

To cook beans: Soak dried kidney beans over night in water (for at least 5 hours) drain and rinse. Then cover with water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse.

Or use instant pot and cook then for 1 hour (other people say 25 minutes but I’m paranoid) and then drain and rinse well. Makes mushy beans but doesn’t require pre-soaking.

Do not use a slow cooker–it can increase the amount of toxins in your bean dish, because they don’t reach a high enough temperature.

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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of cooked and softened kidney beans
  • 2 cups of broth (I used beef, but the recipe says water is fine, so use veggie broth or whatever)
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • Spices for garnish

Directions 

  1. Place cooked beans and broth into a saucepan and bring to boil then reduce to simmer.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium-low and melt butter. Add onions and fry until onions are soften, and starting to brown.
  3. Add fried onions, cinnamon, pepper, and saffron to bean mixture and simmer for 10-20 minutes on low.
  4. Serve soup with powder duce or salt or other spices you think compliment the dish or that will help balance your humors.

 

 

 

 

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Beet Soup

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Marina (From Marina’s Solar) wrote a borcht recipe for the Feast Cook’s Guild’s fund raising calendar that was amazing. She quoted this recipe as an example of other beet soup recipes: “In Byzantium beets, sorrel, onion, garlic, and vinegar, boiled together, cleared the digestion. (Source: Tastes of Byzantium)….” but she didn’t redact this one specifically. “…cleared the digestion” has me curious but I carry on.

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Ingredients:

  • 10 small beets (~4 cups) quartered
  • 3 cups of chopped sorrel
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a stew pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until beets are soft and onions are clear, about one hour.

I’m totally going to borcht-ify this with an immersion blender. 

 

Pear Shaped Meatballs or “To make Peares to be boiled in meate.”

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This is another meatball in sauce recipe that I am trying out as an idea for Feast of the Hare in November.

Again the meat is paired with a ‘lemon’ flavour, but this time it will be barberries not salted lemons. The meatballs are shaped like pears, which is cute.

I also have fresh thyme and parsley and this recipe will be excellent use for them.

This recipe is fussy especially compared to the above linked meatball recipe but it is so much amazing. John, one of my stunt eaters, called the barberries taste explosions.

To make Peares to be boiled in meate. TAke a peece of a legge of Mutton or Veale raw, being mixed with a little Sheepe sewet, and halfe a manchet grated fine, taking foure raw egges yolkes and al. Then take a little Time, & parsely chopped smal, then take a few gooseberies or barberies, or greene grapes being whole. Put all these together, being seasoned with Salte, saffron and cloues, beaten and wrought altogether; then make Rowles or Balles like to a peare, and when you haue so done, take the stalke of the sage, and put it into the ends of your peares or balles, then take the freshe broth of beefe, Mutton or veale, being put into an earthen pot, putting the peares or balles in the same broth wyth Salt, cloues, mace and Saffron, and when you be ready to serue him, put two or three yolkes of egs into the broth. Let them boile no more after that but serue it forth vpon soppes. You may make balles after the same sorte. Thomas Dawson, The Second part of the good Huswives Jewell  (1597)

Ingreidents

  • Meatballs
    • .6 kg beef, veal or mutton ground
    • 100 g suite or lard
    • 150 g bread crumbs
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 branches of thyme, leaves minced
    • 2 branches of parsley, leaves minced
    • 100 g barberries
    • 1 tsp salt
    • pinch saffron
    • 1 tsp cloves, ground
  • Broth
    • 2 liter beef broth
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 8 cloves, whole
    • 1 flake mace
    • pinch saffron
    • 3 egg yolks, beaten

Directions

  1. Mix ground meat, and the ingredients for meatballs together. It should hold its shape when formed into “pears”. Make meat mixture into pears, 2 oz each.
  2. Put beef broth, 1 tsp salt, whole cloves, meat mace flake, and pinch of saffron into a large sauce pan and bring to boil. Drop “pears” gently into pot and then reduce heat. DO NOT stir for at least 10 minutes. Remove meatballs after 10 minutes and set into warm bowl.
  3. Remove large spices from broth if possible. Add a 1/4 cup of cooking liquid to egg yolks, blend well, then add egg mixture to pot. Simmer on medium for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
  4. Serve “pears” with bread slices and sauce.

Meatballs in Broth or “Another Sort Of Dressed veal”

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So this recipe could be a meatball soup, given the amount of broth required to cover the meatballs is more than one would use as a sauce. It is strongly flavoured though, so I would serve it with sops (bread slices) if you were doing that. Otherwise it is a wonderful lemon bite around the delicately flavoured veal (*cough* bland *cough*).

My friend Diane would love this.

Veal was on sale so tomorrow I will be making a veal pie.

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Another sort of dressed veal.
Take the meat so as to have made ham all as trimmed, & make round balls or strips like little sausages, & put them to stew in good broth, & a salted lemon cut in strips, mint, marjoram therein, a little verjuice or wine, & put them to stew well, & serve as such. (France, 1604 – Daniel Myers, trans. Ouverture de Cuisine)

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground veal
  • salt
  • 1.5 liters of bone broth
  • 1 salted lemon
  • 1 branch each mint, marjoram
  • 1/3 cup verjuice (or wine)

Directions

  1. Salt the veal to taste and then form into balls ~1 oz, you should get 15-16 balls from 1 lb of veal.
  2. Pour broth into a sauce pan and add the rest of the ingredients then bring to boil on high.
  3. Drop meatballs into boiling broth and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer balls for 7 minutes.
  4. Serve balls with broth (and sops). (My family added more salt)

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.