Chicken stewed with apples or “Hungarian Capon in Pottage”

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The two part cooking of chicken is for two reasons:

  1. Chickens humours are of a dry humour and you need to simmer them to add moist to balance them, and
  2. it insures that the chicken is cooked through so it won’t make someone who is cooking without reliable heat, or meat thermometer, ill.

I used chicken legs but this recipe calls for Capon, which is much more expensive.

The apples are cut into quarters, this could mean that you should have chunks of apples when the sauce is done cooking, or that the cook knows they will cook long enough to thicken sauce. Or both!

I think the flavour from the pine nuts helps balance out the sweetness of the other sauce ingredients. If you needed to remove the pine nuts I’d try dried mushrooms or toasted almonds to give a umami, or savoury taste.

Hungarian Capon in pottage. Take a slightly cooked capon, cut it into quarters, & fry in butter a little, that it is not at all black: then take onions cut into slices, & apples cut into little quarters, & fry in butter, & cast it on the capon in a pot: then put therein a little broth & wine, & let it boil again, & put herein saffron, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pine nuts, & make stew well until it is well cooked, & serve. Ouverture de Cuisine
(France, 1604 – Daniel Myers, trans.)

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken pieces
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, peeled, quartered, cores removed
  • 1.5 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts**

DIrections

  1. Heat a deep cast iron frying pan on medium. Add chicken pieces and 1 tbsp butter, fry until chicken is brown. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tbsp butter to chicken pan* with onions and apple pieces. Fry until onions soften.
  3. Gently place chicken back to pan, cover with broth and wine and then bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until chicken falls off bone or is well cooked. Your kitchen will smell wonderful.
  5. Serve chicken with cooking liquid.

*It is a different instruction from the original but I like using one pan when I can instead of two. If pressed for time fry apples and onions in a second pot as you are browning chicken pieces.

**Costs more than the chicken did.

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Rabbit & Grape Pie or To bake a Connie, Veale, or Mutton..

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I had leftover rabbit to use up and some grapes that were no longer completely firm. So…. pie!

There are many examples of layered pies so I did the layering here. I believe it would work if you mixed all the ingredients together instead of using layers, but I’d add some more egg yolk for binder and reduce the amount of grapes or gooseberries.

A Book of Cookrye (1591) mentioned a similar dish but using verjuice and butter as a replacement for fruit, you could do that here instead of the grapes.

To bake a Connie, Veale, or Mutton.. Take a Conny and perboile it almost enough, then mince the flesh of it very fine, and take with it three yolks of hard eggs, and mince with it, then lay another Conny in your Pie being parboiled, and your minced meat with it, being seasoned with Cloues, Mace, Ginger, Saffron Pepper & Salt, with two dishes of swéete butter mixed with it, lay upon your Connie Barberries, or grapes, or the small raisins, and so bake it.

–Thomas Dawson. The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (1597)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded parboiled rabbit, chopped (or veal or mutton)
  • 2 yolks of hardboiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 slice of bacon, chopped small
  • 1 pinch each ginger, salt, pepper, mace, cloves, saffron
  • enough grapes to cover the top of the filling
  • 1 small pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix half the shredded rabbit with the egg yolks, coating the  chopped rabbit and making a paste. Put it in the bottom of the pie crust and smash it down with a fork to cover it evenly.
  3. Mix the rest of the rabbit and butter,  bacon, and spices, to make a paste and layer it over the egg-yolk mixture.
  4. Take the grapes and layer them over the rabbit mixture. It might be appropriate to cut the grapes in half but I pricked a hole in each of the grapes with a sharp knife btu left them otherwise whole.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.

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. 

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.

 

 

 

 

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)