Roasted Chicken with Apples, Currants and Barberries


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)


  • 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


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


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


  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.

Sawse Madame XXX or Quince Sauce for a Goose


Quince (also called conne, coynes, quyncis, coyces) is technically in season. Its still hard to find in Ontario even though they can grow here. They are picked after the first frost and you want to use them when they are green with a few brown spots and not when they are a bright, tight green. They should smell fragrant when you bring them to your nose.

Sauce Madame is an amazing quince based sauce for a goose. It combines stuffing and goose drippings to make the perfect sauce to go with a goose. You can probably use frozen quince instead of fresh but quince jam or paste will not work as a substitute. There are a few additional Sauce Madame recipes that use pear than quince but that makes me sad because quince is awesome.

Here are a few links to roasting goose:

This recipe makes more sauce than there is goose. Its worth it and amazing.

SAWSE MADAME. XXX. Take sawge. persel. ysope. and saueray. quinces. and peeres, garlek and Grapes. and fylle the gees þerwith. and sowe the hole þat no grece come out. and roost hem wel. and kepe the grece þat fallith þerof. take galytyne and grece and do in a possynet, whan the gees buth rosted ynouh; take an smyte hem on pecys. and þat tat is withinne and do it in a possynet and put þerinne wyne if it be to thyk. do þerto powdour of galyngale. powdour douce and salt and boyle the sawse and dresse þe Gees in disshes and lay þe sowe onoward. Forme of Cury (1390)


* 1 goose [I brined for 24 hours, add salt to recipe if you don’t]
* 1 large quince, chopped, core removed
* 1 bosc pear, chopped, core removed
* 8 grapes, cut in half if large
* 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
* 2 branches sage, chopped
* 2 branches parsley, chopped
* 1 tsp hyssop
* 1/2 cup jelly from beef bone broth
* 1 cup white wine (I started with 1/3 cup and added for taste)
* fat and drippings from goose
* 1 tsp galingale
* 3 tsp powder duce mix


  1. I used the romertof instructions (listed above) for my goose. It starts with soaking cooker for 2+ hours before you start.
  2. Place goose inside clay cooker bottom, after making sure there are no bags of organ meats inside cavity.
  3. Mix quince, pear, grapes, garlic, sage, parsley, hyssop together. Stuff mixture inside goose. Gently place stuffing into bird. No need to sew it shut since you are not probably not spit roasting. Cover bird with top of cooker (if goose doesn’t fit completely inside move bird to large roaster and follow other goose cooking suggestions).
  4. Place roaster into a cold oven and then turn oven on to 420F. Set timer for 2 hours and walk away.
  5. Once two hours have passed, and your house smells amazing, remove bird from oven, and remove lid from cooker.  Remove stuffing from bird and gently pour off the drippings and fat from the bottom of the cooker. If bird is crispy and browned you can shut oven off otherwise return empty bird to the oven to brown without the cooker lid.
  6. Put roasted stuffing and the drippings into a sauce pan with beef jelly, wine, drippings and spices. Simmer together on medium low for 30 minutes until you are ready to serve goose. Mash or blend sauce to make it smooth before serving.
  7. Cut goose into smaller pieces and serve with generous amounts of sauce.


Cooking with beer and wine


Hypothetically if you are cooking something like lamb sausages in beer on a BBQ and the grease catches fire do not add more beer. It kind of explodes. Maybe. Hypothetically.

I’ve been experimenting with cooking with (gluten-free) beer and wine after discovering two duck-sauce recipes that were pretty similar at first blush except that one uses wine and the other beer.

Beer adds a smokier and bitter flavour. The flavour would radically change from redaction to redaction depending upon what kind of beer you used. You’d want something on the lighter side, and less hops.

Wine is sweeter, even a dry wine, and adds an acidic and tart flavour. I find that cheaper cooking wines, when used in cooking, don’t taste that differently, some difference but not wildly different in the way beer is.

Both of the following recipes needed the roasted duck to complete the flavours.

Beer Sauce for Roasted Mallards
Take onions and hew them well, put some in the mallard, so have you bliss, and hack more onions, as I teach you; with the grease of the mallard you fry them, then take ale, mustard and honey then, boil all together before you do more; for mallard roasted this sauce is prepared, and served in hall by good right. Liber cure Cocorum

The ratios for the sauce are more important than amounts. If you don’t have 1 cup of drippings treat the recipe as 4 part drippings, 4 parts ale, 1 part mustard, and 1 part honey.

* 1 onion, minced
* 1 cup of fat and drippings from your roasted duck
* 1 cup ale
* 1/4 cup of yellow mustard
*1/4 cup of honey

1)  Saute onions in the duck fat and drippings on medium heat until the onions are transparent.

2) Mix ale, mustard and honey together, then slowly pour into onion mixture. Bring the mixture to a low boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with your roasted duck.

Wine Sauce for Duck
Take onions, and hewe them small, and fry hem in fresh greece, and cast them into a pot, And fresh broth of beef, wine, & powder of pepper, canel, and dropping of the mallard. And let them boil together a while; And take hit for the fire, and cast thereto mustard a little, and powder of ginger, and let it boil no more, and salt it, And serve it forth with the Mallard. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books.

* 1 onion, minced
* fat for frying
* 1/2 cup of beef broth
* 1/2 cup dry wine
* 1/2 tsp pepper, ground
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 cup fat and drippings from your roasted duck
* 1/4 cup of yellow mustard
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* salt to taste

1)  Saute onions in fat  on medium heat in a sauce pan until the onions are transparent.

2) Add broth, wine, pepper, cinnamon, and drippings into sauce pan with onions, simmer together on medium  for 10 minutes.

3) Take sauce pan off heat add mustard, ginger, and salt and stir well. Serve with roasted duck.

Pynade or Chicken Candy


Ever since I first cracked open the intimidating Take a Thousand Eggs or More by Cindy Renfrow I wanted to make some of the stranger dishes.

Pynade, is like peanut brittle but uses chicken and pine nuts instead of peanuts found in this book.

Most people make the version for lent, or without chicken. Chicken adds moisture so it is harder to get the sugars to the hard crack stage without burning–especially when using honey instead of sugar.

If you remove the dish from heat before the honey reaches 300F it is still a kind of sweet and (not very) sour chicken dish people seem to like so it is worth experimenting with.

Pynade. Take Hony & gode pouder Gyngere, & Galyngale, & Canelle, Pouder pepir, & graynys of parys, & boyle y-fere; than take kyrnelys of Pynotys & caste ther-to; & take chyconys y-sothe, & hew hem in grece, & caste ther-to, & lat sethe y-fere; & then lat droppe ther-of on a knyf; & if it cleuyth & wexyth hard, it ys y-now; & then putte it on a chargere tyl it be cold, & mace lechys, & serue with other metys; & if thou wolt make it in spycery, then putte non chykonys ther-to. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books


* 2 Chicken breasts
* Oil for cooking
* 1 cup pine nuts
* 1 tsp galingale, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* Pinch black pepper, ground
* Pinch of grains of paradise, ground
* 1 cup honey

1) Fry chicken breasts in oil until cooked through, then chop chicken very small, and lie meat on cutting board to cool and drain. Too much moisture left in meat at this stage will change the dish.

2) In a dry skillet toast the pine nuts with the spices on a low heat.

3) Add chicken pieces and stir, coating the chicken liberally.

4) Pour honey into skillet and simmer, stirring constantly, until honey reaches just over 300 degrees or hard crack stage. The honey will change colour from golden to brown, and smell like candy.

5) Quickly pour honey mixture onto non-stick baking mat, or parchment paper, and let cool.

6) Finished product should look like “chicken brittle”, break into pieces to serve.



Wortes, wortys, or longwortes, are all leafy greens, on purpose herbs or invasive weeds. The cultivated brassica includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, savoy, kohlrabi and kai-lan.

If googling you will find that ‘worts’ are a skin problem that looks like cauliflower. This being said there are no longer any cauliflower recipes in this blog.

Buttered Wortes.
Take all manner of good herbs that thou may gete, and do to them as is forsaid; put them on the fire with fair water; put there-to clarified butter a great quantity. Whan they been boiled enough, salt them; let none oatmeal come there-in. Dice bread small in dishes, and power on the wortes, and serve them forth. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (1430)

* 8 cups of mixed leafy greens and herbs, like spinach, collard greens, brassica leaves, dandelion, parsley, etc, washed, stems removed
* 4 dinner rolls cut into quarters
* 1/4 cup of clarified butter
* Salt to taste

1) Put a large pot of water on to boil. Submerge the greens into the water along with the butter. Bring the greens to boil.

2) Put the rolls into four different bowls and divide the wilted greens on top of them. Add salt to taste and serve.

Another Broth with Longwortes.
Take mutton and fair water, and let them boil upon the fire and then take lettuce or spinach, and put thereto, and if lyst to boil therewith two or three chickens, and put thereto salt and verjuice after your discretion, and serve them forth, the flesh under, the herbes above. A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye (mid-16th c.)

* 1 leg of mutton, or mutton bone
* 8 cups of Spinach (or lettuce), washed, stems removed
* 2 small chickens, quartered
* 2 tbsp salt
* 1/2 verjuice

1) Put mutton leg, or stewing bone, into a large pot and cover with water. Bring pot to boil and then reduce to simmer for 1 hour.

2) Add spinach, chicken pieces, salt and verjuice. Simmer chickens until they reach 165°F and the joints are easily broken apart, approximately 40 minutes.

3) Arrange the cooked chicken pieces on plates and cover with the cooked herbs.


Armoured Food


I found three recipes with the names in common: armored hen, armored capon, and armored turnip. Only the armoured capon is dressed to look like it is wearing armor, which is really fun.

The turnips are layered with cheese and spices, somewhat like a “paleo diet” lasagna. Remember to use the smaller “Brassica rapa subsp. rapa” not the larger rutabaga “Brassica napobrassica”.

The armoured hen is a spit roast, where you make a crust on the outside of the roasted meat by sprinkling it with flour. The translation from Spanish by Robin Carroll-Mann can add to confusion if you are unfamiliar with this technique. “And when it is nearly half-roasted, baste it with bacon.” might imply that the spitted and half cooked hen is wrapped with strips of bacon before the flour crust is applied. This would result in an over cooked hen, or rubbery undercooked bacon. Putting a French translation “Fais rôtir une belle poule et, près de la mi-cuisson, frotte-la avec du lard.” into google translate gets “Do a nice roast chicken and nearly halfway through cooking , rub it with bacon.” This bacon fat addition, along with egg yolks, would allow the flour to stick to the less fatty hen. Translating with google from the original Catalan didn’t translate well.

Armored Capon
(Spain, 1520 – Robin Carroll-Mann, trans.)
Bard a capon, and roast it; and when it is half-roasted remove the barding fat. And take egg yolks beaten with parsley and sugar, and let them be very well-beaten, and put these eggs all over the capon; and take pine nuts and peeled almonds, and while you put on the egg yolks, put on the pine nuts and almonds bit by bit in such a way that they will adhere to the sauce. And then put the barding fat back on over the eggs and the capon. And it shall be upon the fire until it is completely roasted. Libre del Coch

* 1 capon (~6lbs)
* 6 strips of bacon
* 4 egg yolks
* 1 cup whole almonds, blanched
* 3/4 cup pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cover the capon with the strips of bacon. Roast capon for 45 minutes (while bacon is still rubbery, not crispy), then remove from heat.
3. Remove the bacon strips and set aside. Working from one end of the bird to the other, drop a little bit of egg yolk on the bird, smooth it out and use it to glue on almonds and pine nuts in neat rows, with the sides of the almonds touching and the pine nuts filling the voids near the points of the almonds. Place bacon stips back over the capon and return bird to oven. Roast for an additional hour or until it reaches 165°, and the limbs twist easily from the body.
4. Serve capon whole to guests, so they can enjoy the whole affect.

Armored Hen
(Spain, 1520 – Robin Carroll-Mann, trans.)
33. Armored Hen. Roast a good hen. And when it is nearly half-roasted, baste it with bacon. Then take well-beaten egg yolks, then with a spoon or with the tip of a large wooden spoon rub the hen with these yolks, little by little. And then sprinkle wheat flour well-sifted with ground salt over the eggs, turning the hen constantly and swiftly; and the crust is worth more than the hen. Libre del Coch

* 1 whole chicken, (~5lbs)
* 1/2 cup bacon fat
* 2 egg yolks, beaten with a fork
* 1 cup flour
* 2 tsp salt

1. Mix flour and salt together.
2. Build up a cooking fire, and tie your hen to a spit using food safe twine.
3. Slowly roast the hen, turning often, until it starts to sweat all over and juices start to run (approximately 30 minutes).
4. Baste the bird with the bacon fat all over. It will drip off quickly but also will add flavour. Then baste the bird with the egg yolks, evenly coating all over. Quickly, before the egg dries fully, start sprinkling flour over bird. The moisture from the bird, fat and eggs should make the flour adhere, although there will be loss. Keep sprinkling flour on bird, over and over, as your turn the spit, until all the moisture is absorbed and the flour has formed a crust of sorts. Continue to roast bird turning often, until flour is golden, and until it reaches 165°, and the limbs twist easily from the body.
5. Removed from spit to serve.

Armored Turnips
(Italian, 1421)
Cut up turnips that have been either boiled or cooked under the ashes. Likewise do the same with rich cheese, not too ripe. These should be smaller morsels than the turnips, though. In a pan greased with butter or liquamen, make a layer of cheese first, then a layer of turnips, and so on, all the while pouring in spice and some butter, from time to time. This dish is quickly cooked and should be eaten quickly, too. Platina, Book 8

* 6 turnips, boiled, sliced into 1 cm thick rounds
* 8 oz gouda, sliced into pieces half as thick as the turnips, or smaller
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/4 tsp mace, ground
* 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
* 3 tbsp butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix spices together. Butter a baking dish. Lay down a loose layer of cheese, then a layer of turnips, sprinkle some of the spice mix on top of the turnips. Repeat until you run out of cheese and turnips.
  3. Sprinkle any leftover butter and spices on top of the layers.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the top of the turnip pie is browning.



Cock, Capon, Hen, & Chicken


Chicken, Capons, Cocks, Roosters, and Hens, are all the same creature to the modern cook. Mature chickens will be treated as ‘boilers’ or ‘roasters’ but otherwise not all cooks will differentiate when cooking with them in a modern recipe. Not all cooks differentiate between the fowl when trying medieval recipes either. Medieval cooks did.

Capons are castrated roosters. They were served to the upper class almost exclusively.  They were desirable for their large size, fattening quickly after their ‘little cut’. They are also valued for their balanced humours, which meant that they were an excellent meat for anybody–who could afford it.

Roosters in contrast are warm and dry in the second degree. Hens and chickens are cold. Young hens were less expensive, with mature chickens, past their egg laying prime, even more affordable and were a food source common for the lower classes.

Modernly prices still seem to reflect these medieval values still. With capons, when a shopper can find them, still being expensive today.

Spinach, fennel and parsley are also suitable for all humours as well so I’ve selected two capon recipes with this in mind.

To Boil A Capon With A Syrup
This is an excerpt from The Good Housewife’s Jewell
(England, 1596) The original source can be found at

To boil a capon with a syrup. Boyle your capon in sweet broth, and put in grosse pepper and whole mace into the capons bellie, and make your syrup with spinach, white wine, and currants, sugar, cinnamon and ginger, and sweet butter, and so let them boyle, and when your capon is ready to serve put the syrup on the capon, and boyle your spinach before you make your syrup.

* a whole capon (~6lbs)
* 10 peppercorns
* 1 mace flake
* 10 cups broth

* 4 cups baby spinach, no stems, chopped fine
* 2 cup of white cooking wine
* 2 tbsp currants
* 1/2 cup raw sugar
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 2 slices of ginger
* 1/4 cup of unsalted butter

1) Pour broth into a pot large enough for the capon you’ve chosen. Insert the pepper and mace into the cavity of the capon, then submerge the capon into the broth, making sure capon is covered. Bring pot to boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer capon for 1 hour or until it reaches 165°, and the limbs twist easily from the body.

2)  In a smaller sauce pan add the chopped spinach and 3 cups of water, bring pot to boil and then drain off water. Add wine, currants, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and butter to the hot spinach, simmer on low to medium low while capon is cooking, stirring often.

3) Removed cooked capon from broth and carve normally.

4) Remove cinnamon stick and ginger slices from spinach sauce. Pour sauce into a serving dish.

5) Serve capon slices with spinach syrup.

Capons with Herbs
From Le Viandier de Taillevent
(France, ca. 1380 – James Prescott, trans.)

 Cook them in water, pork fat, parsley, sage, hyssop, rosemary, wine, verjuice, saffron and ginger, as you wish.

* 1 Capon (~6lbs)
* 1/2 cup bacon fat, pork fat back, or lard
* 2 cups parsley, stems removed, chopped fine
* 1 branch sage, stem removed
* 1 branch hyssop or marjoram, stem removed
* 1 branch rosemary, stem removed
* 1 cup white cooking wine
* 1/4 cup crab apple verjuice (or cranberry wine)
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 slice ginger, grated

In a large pot place capon and other ingredients. Add water to cover. Bring pot to boil and then reduce heat to medium-low to simmer. Simmer capon for 1 hour or until it reaches 165°, and the limbs twist easily from the body. Remove Capon from pot and carve. Serve with cooking broth if you desire.