Carrots in a good broth

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Rainbow carrots are found in the grocery store. “Carrots” by Mistress Agnes de Lanvallei and History by the World Carrot Museum both are good timelines about the humble carrot.

I made a complicated carrot pudding dish before when I had a batch of carrots but this time something colourful but humble.

Pastinaca sativa tenuifolia, Pastinaca satiua atro-rubens.
Carrots.  The root of the yellow Carrot is most commonly boiled with fat flesh and eaten… The red Carrot is of like facultie with the yellow.” John Gerard’s Herball or General Historie of Plantes (1633)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs rainbow carrots, peeled, cut into bite sized pieces (or not)
  • 2 litres good fat broth (I used turkey because of Canadian Thanksgiving)

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients and simmer to soften carrots ~30 minutes or whenever. Serve hot with sops.
  2. Ponder how difficult historical cooking is.

 

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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. 

 

Fennel and Leek Soup or About the aforementioned.

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So I was looking for medieval recipes (if I am going to cook with a cook book anyway…) for vegetables to use up some greens I had going off. I found this cute recipe below and since it called for cheap ingredients I already had in the fridge I decided to experiment with it.

I love that it calls for the fennel bulb not the leaves, since it is much easier to get the bulb here.

Anyone who cooks a fast soup knows about softening veggies before adding a broth. I wondered what adding water instead of broth would be like. I also wondered what frying fennel in lard would be like.

My daughter declares it “good” and that “it tastes like pho” which is her highest compliment. I think the flavours worked together and it would be even better as a campfire dish–which I will try at my next opportunity.

I think this was a dish meant for an invalid or for maybe winter. I am just tired and the air conditioner is set too high.

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 Take white fennel minced finely, and then fry it with a little of the white part of a leek minced finely, with egg or lard, and put in a bit of water and saffron and salt, and boil it, and put in beaten eggs, if you want. Anonimo Toscano, Libro della Cocina (late 14th or early 15th c.)  Ariane Helou’s translation

Ingredients:
* 1 heaping tbsp lard **
* 1/3 cup leek, a few inches of the white end, minced
* 1 cup fennel, white from the bulb end, minced
* 2 cups water
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Heat frying pan on medium-high, add lard to melt.
  2. Add fennel and leek, reduce heat to medium low, and stir to soften veggies.
  3. Pour fennel mixture into a sauce pan, add water and salt. Heat sauce pan on medium-high until mixture comes to boil.
  4. Add beaten egg into fennel mixture while stirring. Bring to boil a second time, then remove from heat.
  5. Serve hot***.

** Use vegetable lard or olive oil if making for a vegetarian. 

*** and with rice noodles if you want to take the pho thing a little too far. 

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)

Cabbage with Beef Marrow now for less than $66!

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So I heard on cbc radio that Neiman Marcus was selling frozen collard greens for $66. Well if brassica is the new trendy food I could totally blog about that! Send me the royalty cheques!

It turns out I already have blogged about wortes before so I can’t nerd about about those collard green recipes again, bringing down the Neiman Marcus coolness factor like only a history nerd can.

However I have a head of cabbage so I move forward. The following recipe is a lovely, calorically dense, winter cabbage stew.

It is flavoured with marrow which is cooked to release it from the bones in the broth. Beef marrow is very creamy and has a deep, earthy flavour rather than the sharp, salty notes of bacon fat, or butter. You can get beef bones from your local artisanal butcher or in the frozen meat section of a low end grocery store and lots of places in between.

This recipe calls for parboiling the cabbage and draining it really well before cooking it in the broth. This would mean that the strong cabbage flavour won’t overwhelm the dish. It also shrinks the leaves before trying to fit other things into a full pot.

cabbage

Caboges. Take fayre caboges, an cutte hem, an pike hem clene and clene washe hem, an parboyle hem in fayre water, an thanne presse hem on a fayre bord; an than choppe hem, and caste hem in a faire pot with goode freysshe broth, an wyth mery-bonys, and let it boyle: thanne grate fayre brede and caste ther-to, an caste ther-to Safron an salt; or ellys take gode grwel y-mad of freys flesshe, y-draw thorw a straynour, and caste ther-to. An whan thou seruyst yt inne, knocke owt the marw of the bonys, an ley the marwe .ij. gobettys or .iij. in a dysshe, as the semyth best, and serue forth. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (1430)

Ingredients

  • Head of cabbage, cored and sliced into large pieces
  • 8 cups of broth (any kind)
  • 4 beef bones with marrow intact
  • 2 cups dry bread crumbs, or leftover oatmeal made with beef broth
  • pinch of saffron
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Place cabbage pieces into a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil on a high heat. Remove pot from heat and strain cabbage. Rinse with cold water and then press the water out of the leaves by hand. Chop cabbage into bite sized pieces and return to pot.
  2. Cover cabbage pieces with broth, then add bones. Cover pot and bring to boil on a high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until marrow is soft, and almost falling out of the bone, approximately 1 hour.
  3. Remove bones from pot and slide out the marrow using a butter knife. Set marrow aside.
  4. Add saffron, salt and breadcrumbs to cabbage mixture. While stirring gently, let mixture simmer for 5 to 10 minutes on medium-low heat, until thickened.
  5. Serve cabbage stew hot, with a garnish of marrow, dividing the marrow among the servings.

 

Beans as Thickner

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As you might have read on my last post I got really excited about a 14th century recipe for bean thickened pancakes, maybe Aquafava thickened pancakes. I found a few other recipes that use beans for thickeners. The pancakes do not taste ‘beany’ and are fluffier than I thought they’d be.

We have the pancake recipe, but we also have a fritter, a stew and a tart. A good selection of cases where eggs are commonly used to thicken recipes.

One of the other thickeners I’ve learned about is blood. I might leave off doing that selection of recipe creations until Halloween.

Bean Pancakes
Take white chickpeas, well softened in water; boil them well, then take them out of the water, minced finely and mix them with said water, and strain them; and with this strained water dilute the flour as you like and fry it on a low fire with lard and oil, and put some honey on top.

Another preparation.  Dilute the flour with eggs, then make some gloves or other shape, as you like: set them to cook well in a pan with hot lard or oil.An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book

Ingredients
* 1 cup of dried chickpeas (or 5-6 eggs) (modern: 1.5 cups of aquafaba)
* 1 cup of chickpea flour
* 1/4-1/2 cup lard (or vegan shortening) for frying
* 1/4 cup of honey, to taste

Directions
1) One cup of dried chickpeas will grow to about 2 1/2 cups. Soften chickpeas in water overnight. Strain chickpeas and discard the soaking water. Bring chickpeas to boil in enough water to cover, then reduce to simmer for ~1 hour. Start checking the chickpea progress at about 35-40 minute. The chickpeas have to be soft.
2) Take cooked chickpeas and reserve cooking liquid. Chop up chickpeas roughly, removing loose skins as you go. Pour chickpea meat back into chickpea cooking water. Strain the chickpeas out using a strainer, this should take care of the rest of the chickpea skins and give you a nice chickpea milk. Strain the liquid through the chickpea mash a few times to try to get as much chickpea slurry as possible. This results in about 1/5 cups of liquid, and is very labour intensive.
3) Mix one cup of flour with ~1.5 cups of chickpea milk depending on what sort of consistency you want.
4) Heat your frying pan to medium. Fry batter in small batches in lard or bacon fat until both sides are golden brown.
5) Serve hot, covered in honey.

Bean Tart
Take the beans and cook them with pork belly, then paste the beans in a mortar and the belly with a knife (chop fine), then put the best spices that you may have and put in much cheese that it is half or less a third of the batter, and mix old lard and make the tart and it is most perfect. Libro di cucina / Libro per cuoco
Ingredients
* 2 cups fresh  fava beans, shelled (or 1 cup of dried fava beans softened)
* 1/2 cup pork belly, browned by frying
* 1 cup gouda cheese, grated
* ½ tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ginger
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1 tsp bacon fat
* 1 pie crust
Directions
1) Cover beans with water in a saucepan, add pork belly. Bring to boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 5 minutes, until beans are soft.
2) Once beans are soft strain and remove whats left of the pork belly. Chop pork belly into small pieces.
3) Grind beans into a paste in mortar and pestle removing skins as they slide off.
4) Preheat oven to 350° F.
5) Mix bean paste, shredded cheese, spices and bacon fat together. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50 minutes, until middle sets and shell is browned.
6) Let tart sit for 10 min before cutting.

Bean Stew
Boil till they split, then take plenty of parsley and a little sage and hyssop, and grind very fine; and after this grind up some bread, and a handful of these same beans which should be peeled and ground with the bread for thickening, then put through a sieve: then fry the rest of your beans in bacon fat, if this is a meat day, or in oil or butter, if this is a fish day; then put your beans in meat stock, if this is a meat day, or in the water from the beans, if this is a fish day.
 Le Menagier de Paris

Ingredients
* 2 branches of parsley, stems removed
* 1 branch of sage, stems removed
* 1 branch of hyssop, stems removed
*1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
* 2 cups cooked large fava beans
* 1/4 cup bacon fat (or butter), for cooking
* 4 cups broth (or 4 cups liquid from cooking beans)

Directions
1) Take herbs and grind them into a paste in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
2) Take bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans, that have been peeled, and grind them together. Add cooking liquid of broth to smooth them out and run mixture through a sieve. Set aside.
3) Heat a frying pan to medium, add cooking fat and the rest of the beans, and brown them for ten minutes, stirring constantly.
4) In a large sauce pan add broth, ground herbs, crushed bean mixture, and fried beans with the cooking fat. Heat sauce pan on medium-low for 30 minutes, stirring often, until flavours combine. (Might need to add salt if broth isn’t salted.)

Bean Fritters
Get enough broad-bean paste for the size of fritter you want to make, and get chervil, a little sage, chopped figs, apples, mint and parsley, mix everything together and fry it in good oil; remove it onto a round platter with fine spices on top. The Neapolitan recipe collection

Ingredients
* 1 cup of broad beans, cooked, peeled, and mashed into a paste
* 4 leaves of chervil (French parsley), minced
*  2 leaves of sage, minced
* 3 figs, chopped small
* 3 leaves mint, minced
* 4 leaves parsley, minced
* oil for frying
* cinnamon and ginger for garnish

  1. Mix everything together. The dough should be on the stiff side. Make small patties, or balls with the mixture.
  2. Heat a frying pan on medium, and add fat for frying. Drop patties into oil and fry on each side until fritters are browned.
  3. Lightly garnish with spices and serve.