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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Cheese and Onion Tart or Tart On Ember-day

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Tart on Ember-day. Parboyle onions, and sauge, and parsel, and hew hom small, then take gode .fatte chese, and bray hit, and do therto egges, and tempur hit up therwith; and do therto butter and sugur, and raisynges of corance, and pouder of ginger, and of canell; medel all this well togedur, and do hit in a coffyn, and bake hit uncovered and serve hit forthe. Richard Warner, Antiquitates culinariae(1791) Ancient Cookery 1425

Ember-day is a fast day the observant Christian medieval person would follow. It wasn’t fast that meant no-food, but fast meaning no meat. If you are looking for vegetarian recipes “ember” or “in lent” are useful terms to know.

Often you see this recipe with the typo “fauge” instead of “sauge” throwing all sorts of confusion into the mix. There is no herb ‘fauge’ (probably) but there are calligraphy ‘s’ that looks like ‘f’.

Onions being dry and hot of course respond well to being parboiled. It also takes away some of the cooking time and bitterness of the onions. When chopping the cooked onions be careful, they are very slippery*. If you chop them before parboiling you will add a lot more moisture to the pie unless you drain them really well.

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Ingredients
* 4 onions, peeled
* 1 tsp sage
* 1 tsp parsley
* 300 ml soft goat cheese
* 4 eggs
* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
*  2 tbsp currants
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 deep dish pie crust

Directions:
1) Place peeled onions into a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring onions to rolling boil. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool before chopping each onion into small pieces (makes about 3 cups of chopped onion)

2) Preheat oven to 350.

3) Mix chopped onions, herbs, cheese, eggs, butter, sugar, currants and spices together. Use the herbs and currants to gauge when it is evenly mixed.

4) Pour onion mixture into pie crust and bake for 1 hour, until pie is golden brown, and middle is cooked. Serve hot or cold.

* yes I cut myself chopping the onions.