Every once in a while, you come across a recipe that blows away any preconceptions about medieval food in recipe books being complicated or exotic. That was the case this week with Pedrada, a chicken recipe I found on The Medieval Spanish Chef (http://www.medievalspanishchef.com).
Pedrada likely means spotted chicken; in this case, it was roasted with spices and served with a sauce made from the leftover liquid. The only problem I found with this recipe was that the quantities called for cinnamon but the instructions mentioned cilantro. Since I didn’t have cilantro, I used a smaller amount of coriander (the seed of cilantro, with a similar flavour).
The original recipe comes from La Cocina Hispano-Magrebi Durante La Epoca Almohade, from a 13th C manuscript published in 1604 and translated to Spanish in 1966 by Ambrosio Huici Miranda. It is #95 in the collection: Gallina asada al horno.
Se limpia una gallina gorda, joven y tierna; se sala con sal y tomillo, se descortezan quatro o cinco granos de ajo y se meten entre los muslos y dentro de su interior; se maja pimiento y cilantro seco, con lo que se espolvorea; se rehoga con almori y aceite y un poco de agua y se envia al horno, si Dios quiere.
Clean a young, tender, fat chicken; sprinkle with salt and thyme, peel four or five cloves of garlic and put them between the muscles and into the cavity; grind pepper and dry cilantro and sprinkle it over; fire it with murri and oil and a bit of water and put it in the oven, if God wills.
The Medieval Spanish Chef generally follows this recipe but heats oil and murri in a pan, then adds water and pours the mixture over the chicken in a roasting pan. I followed that version, using my earthenware baking pan and it was delicious. It was very tender and left me with enough liquid to thicken with flour for a tasty sauce. For greater accuracy, I would suggest browning the chicken in the oil and murri mixture, with a bit of water added as needed so things don’t dry out. Either way, there is a risk of losing some of the herbs and spices that had been sprinkled on the chicken.
I used a small chicken, a sprinkling of salt, 2 tsp thyme, about 1 tsp freshly ground pepper, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp murri, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 c water, and 1 Tbsp flour to thicken the sauce.
It made a lovely hot chicken sandwich.