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.
.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
- 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.
- 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.
- & 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.
- & 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- & 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).
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add hot pieces of rabbit to sauce pot, turning pieces to coat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- 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.