Archive for April, 2015

Sausage meat needs to be minced finely, but medieval people did not have access to the type of meat grinder I use (mine is a manual version in a style that dates to the 1800s). Instead, they used knives. I hadn’t thought much about how it was done, beyond thinking that it was an incredibly tedious task. Then I ran across this excerpt in on http://www.sausagemaking.org: “The meat was often minced with a pair of hefty knives called gavinets. There is an illustration of mince being made in the Luttrell Psalter”. I couldn’t find any other references to gavinets in a quick search, but a search of ganivets shows many medieval knives in Catalan websites. Further searching seems to indicate that most knives were relatively small, but the Luttrell Psalter picture has some large knives. Interestingly, my copy of the Luttrell Psalter (Janet Backhouse, British Library Board, 1989, image 44) says that the cook is chopping green vegetables, not mincing meat.

Luttrell gavinets

When I start making my sausage recipes, I will feel quite comfortable using my regular chopping knives.



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Portuguese Meatballs

This recipe comes from Livro de Cozinha da Infanta D. Maria (Imprensa Nacional – Casa Da Moeda, 1987).  This codice comes from the end of the 15th or early 16th Century, and is held in the National Library of Naples. It does not appear to have been translated into English, although it was the subject of a PhD thesis in romance languages in 1964. This is my very first translation out of the book; eventually I plan to translate the whole thing.

XXVII – Esta é a receita das boldroegas

Tomarão a carne de porco ou de carneiro muito gordo, que nã leve ossos, e pica-la-ão muito miúda, e terão acolá a farinha peneirada pr uma peneira de seda, e terão dez ou doze gemas de ovos, duras; e então meterão em cada pelouro tamanho como péla de jogar de carne picada e uma gema de ovo, e então, enfarinhado aquele pelouro na farinha, então deitá-los-ão dentro numa panela de manteiga que estja fervendo sobre as brasas, ou também caldo de carneiro muito gordo misturado com manteiga, e deitar-lhe-ão uns poucos de cheiros, atados inteiros, dentro. E então abafarão esta panela com um testo em riba e hão-de dar uma volta à panela, de maneira que não quebrem as pélas, e hão-nas de deitar com aquele caldo basto num prato de maneira que se não quebrem, e hã-de ter gusto destes adubos, isto é, cravo e açafrã, pimento e gengibre. Se o caldo é pouco, cevam-no com o caldo das outras panelas.

Take the boneless meat of pork or very fat sheep, and mince it finely, then take flour that has been sifted through a silk sieve, and take the hard-cooked yolks of ten or twelve eggs; and then make meatballs the size of pelotas (handballs that weigh about 95 gr) with an egg yolk and minced meat and then coat each meatball in flour, ten place them in a pot with butter that is boiling on the coals, or else in a broth of sheep fat mixed with butter, and add a few sprigs of herbs.  And then cover the pan, but stir it so as not to break the meatballs, an let them cook until the broth is thickened, then lay them on a plate with the broth (carefully so they don’t break) and  if you wish, add spices such as clove and saffron, pepper and ginger. If there is only a little broth, you can add to it the broth from other pans.

To do this as a modern recipe, I would likely use ground pork and add my spices and herbs directly to the pork, then mold it around my hard-cooked egg yolks before coating with flour and frying. One pound of pork should be sufficient to coat a dozen yolks, with no more than 1/2 tsp of ground cloves and saffron, and 1/4 tsp of pepper and ginger. I might add parsley directly in the meatballs, but could add sprigs of oregano and even a bit of green onion to the fat that the meatballs are fried in.

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I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with this project (and really need to put some books away), so tonight I am plunging in with some of the recipes that use sausage. This post started with Greek (Byzantine) Chicken and led me down some interesting byways – including two new sources, even if one is only available in Dutch. Sadly, I’m not sure it helps with my efforts to put books away, as I have two more from An Early Northern Cookery Book to explore.

Greek Chicken (An Early Northern Cookery Book, Rudolf Grewe and Constance B. Hieatt, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001 p 106)

Next, take a hen and scald it, and blow under the skin [to loosen it] so that it can be removed [in one piece], and remove the wing points and claws. Boil the hen’s meat and grind it with good herbs, and fill the skin with it and roast the [reconstructed] hen. It is called a Greek [i.e. Byzantine] chicken.

According to the author, this recipe is actually more Arabic. Compare to the recipes given by Rodinson. Compare also with Viandier no. 195 (Doreures), p 300 of The Viandier of Taillevent (Terence Scully, U of O Press, 1988)

Doreures (Glazed Stuffed Chicken) – an entremets for a feast day or for a princely banquet on the three meat-days of the week, namely Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. For stuffings and meatballs: you need, for the balls, raw pork – the cut of pork does not matter – with which the hens are to be stuffed. After the poultry is killed, you should make a break in the skin by the head and blow through a hollow feather until the skin is inflated, then scald the poultry and cut them under the belly and skin them; put the carcasses to one side.

To make the stuffing for the poultry you should have white meat, bacon chopped up with the meat, eggs, good fine spice powder, pine-nut paste and currants, and stuff the skin of the poultry with it, without overfilling and bursting it, then sew it up again; this should be allowed barely to cook, then mount them on slender spits. And when the meatballs are well made they should be set to cook with the poultry, and take them out when they have hardened; for the balls, get spits that are half as thick or less as those for the poultry.

After that, you should have an egg batter such that it will stay blended in the pan. When the poultry and  the meatballs are almost cooked, remove them and put them in the batter; take the batter in a clean spoon, constantly stirring, and put it over the poultry and the meatballs until they are glazed with it; and do it twice or three times so that they are well coated with it. Then you need to take gold-leaf or silver-leaf and wrap them in it; you need to dampen them with a little egg white for the leaf to stick better.

A similar recipe appears in Menagier de Paris (recipe 364, p 338). It doesn’t clearly include sausage, but I include it because it is amusing: Stuffed chickens, colored or gilded. Primo blow air into them and remove the meat inside, then fill with other meat, then color or gild as above. But really, this is too complicated and it is no job for a bourgeois’s cook, or even a simple knight’s; therefore I drop the topic.

Another variant: How Two Pigeons are Made from One (Platina, p 49). Gently pluck a pigeon without water so as not to break the skin. Then, having cleaned the inside, remove and draw off the skin whole and fill it with best sausage. Then it will seem altogether whole. The real pigeon you may roast, fry or boil.

Gheerhaert Vorselman, in his 1560 book Eenen Nyeuwn Cook Boeck (edited by Elly Cockx-Idestege, Wiesbaden: Guido Pressler, 1971) offers this recipe (translated in Northern Cookery Book):

Capons in Casselys – Fill the capon’[s removed whole skin with a stuffing made of chicken meat and eggs, and, while roasting and glazing the stuffed capon skin, to roast the whole capon from which the skin was removed, glazing it with a batter of starch and almond milk.

A Noble Boke of Cookery (http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/napier.txt) has this recipe at page 36:

Hennys enforced

To mak hennes enforced tak hennes or yonge pul-

letts and blow them at the brest then tak stuffur that

is mad with pork boiled and grond and alay it with

herd yolks of egge put ther to pounded guinger

raissins of corrans and salt it and fors the hennes

between the skyne and the body and rost him and en-

dore them yallowe or grene and serue it.

To mak two capons of one

To mak two capons of one tak a capon and scald

hym clene and keme of the skyn by the bak then

fley off the skyn but kepe it hole then grind figges

and freshe pork with pouder of guinger and canelle

and fers the skyne and sowe it faste and rost it sokingly

and serue it.

The capon body

Also tak the body of the capon and put it on a

broche by his fellowe and rost hym and stanche it with

grece and when it is rost endore it with yolks of eggs

and serue it.

A similar recipe is found on page 116, which Grewe and Hieatt suggests means that the recipe was sufficiently popular to have appeard in more than one of the New Boke’s sources:

To mak capon in cassolont To mak capon in cassolont tak a capon and skaldhym and opyn the skyn behynd the hed and blow theskyn with a pen and raise it all about then tak porkand hennes flesh and good pouders and mak a farsorther of and sew the skyn and parboille it then roll: thecapon and lard it and mak a batter of almond mylkand amydon and colour it with saffron at the fyer andenbane it and serue it.

Another recipe for Greek Chicken is found at recipe 4 in  the Buch von guter Spise (http://www.medievalcookery.com/etexts/buch.html):

  1. Hüenre von kriechen (Hens from Greece)

Diz heizzent hüenre von kyechen. Man sol hüenre braten. und ein fleische eines swines, weich gesoten und gehacket, under ein ander. und nim einen vierdunc rosen dor zu und nim yngeber und pfeffer und win oder ezzig und zucker oder honie und siede daz zu sammene. und gibs hin und versaltzez niht. These are called Hens from Greece. One should roast hens. And the flesh of a pig, which is boiled until soft, and chopped together. And take a quarter phunt roses thereto and take ginger and pepper and wine or vinegar and sugar or honey and boil this together and give out and do not oversalt.

For a pork variant, Guter Spise offers recipe 8:

Ein gebraten gefültes ferhelin (A roasted filled young pig)

Ain gebraten gefü ultes ferhelin mache also. Nim ein verkelin, daz drier wuchen alt si und brüe daz küele und ziuhe im daz har allez abe, daz man ez iht wunde. so sol man im umme den rans ussene die hut lazzen und loese beide fleisch und gebeine abe. und allez daz ez in dem libe hat an die klawen, die ez nidennen hat an den füezzen. und nime des fleisches daz dor uz gezogen ist wol als zwai eier und siude ez vil nach gar. und nime danne daz und spec und hackez tu rowe eyer dor zu. und einen sniten botes und peterlin krut. und saltz zu mazze und fü lle da mit daz ferkelin niht alzu vol. und forne den munt und legez sanfte in einen kezzel. laz ez erwallen daz die hut iht zubreche. so nim ez denne und lege ez uf einen hülzinen rost und brate ez sanfte, alz ez denne wol geroest si. so nim ein bret und lege daz uf eine scü zzeln. mache uf daz bret vier steckelln und elelde daz bret mit eime blat von eyern und setze daz verkelin dar uf. eleide ez auch mit eime blate und laz im die oren dar uz gen und den munt und trage ez hin. Make also a roasted filled young pig. Take a young pig, which is three weeks old and soak it cool and boil the hair off in that, which one stirs up with whatever (some utensil). So one should remove the skin, starting around the belly and loose both flesh and bones down and all that it has in the body and the claws, which it very frequently has on the hooves. (Basically, skin the pig starting from a cut in the belly.) And take the meat that is pulled thereout (out of the belly) as well as two eggs and boil it a while until ready, and take then that and fat and hack it. Add raw eggs thereto and a slice of bread and parsley (and) herb and salt to mass (appropriately) and fill the young pig with that, not too full, and before the mouth and lay the pig gently in a kettle. Let it simmer, that it does not breaks the meat. So take it then and lay it on a wooden grate and roast it gently. When it is then well roasted, so take a board and lay it there on a dish. Make on that board 4 sticks (possibly as handles) and dress that board with a leaf of eggs and set that young pig there on. Dress it also with a leaf and allow it to go in the ears and the mouth and carry it out.

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