Category Archives: 16th Century

Libre del Coch — Amored Hen

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Libre del Coch was published in 1520 in Barcelona. It was written in Catalan – a language related to, but distinct from, Spanish, written by Ruperto de Nola.
Armored Hen [GALLINA ARMADA]

Roast a good hen. And when it is nearly half-roasted, baste it with bacon. Then take well-beaten egg yolks, then with a spoon or with the tip of a large wooden spoon rub the hen with these yolks, little by little. And then sprinkle wheat flour well-sifted with ground salt over the eggs, turning the hen constantly and swiftly; and the crust is worth more than the hen.

My Thought process:

I’m doing these redactions/recipes for a large cooking event, however, I have no space to actually cook full chickens. There is absolutely nothing wrong with switching this up if you have the equipment and space for full hens. I created this so it was easy and faster to cook, as well as prepare.

I also added a few more spices than the original for better flavor. If you want to stick with just salt and the yoke, then by all means, do that. * means optional.

Recipe:

8 Chicken Legs (about a pound)
8 strips of bacon
¼ cup flour
1 tbs Thyme*
1 tbs Sage*
1 tbs Onion Powder*
1 tbs Garlic Powder*
½ tbs Salt
½ tbs Pepper*
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven for 450 degrees. Take tin foil strips and crunch them up into long tin foil ropes, lining your cook pan with them. This method lifts the chicken on crunched up tin foil to allow it to not cook in fat and crisp skin (if you have another way to lift the legs, feel free to do that).

Put all dry ingrediants together either in a plastic resealable bag or in a bowl. Dredge chicken legs in egg yoke and then coat with the flour mixture. Place chicken on top of coiled tin foil pan and cover each piece of chicken with a strip of bacon.

Roast. Cook at 450 degrees until fully cooked and skin gets crispy.

Sausages in Pottage

Sausages in Pottage

Recipes within our period (pre-1650) in the use of sausage in dishes are sprinkled across the various cultures and time periods. The original German recipe for the sausage itself was hinting that the sausage would be made for a salad. I decided to look deeper to try to find another recipe that would be cooked. Apples and Sausages are still very much eaten in Europe and finding this version on that dish which is period, is a great find. The mix of salty and sweet is a classic temptation of the palate.

Here is some background on the original two cook book authors. My sausage recipe was written by Sabina Welserin, otherwise unknown, was the author of a German cookbook, Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, which she dated 1553 in her brief epigraph. The manuscript was edited by Hugo Stopp and published as Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin. (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag) 1980. It is one of a very few primary sources for the history of German cuisine. The main recipe for the Sausage and Pottage dish was resourced from Lancelot de Casteau or de Chasteau or de Chestea, also known as Anseau de Chestea (1500s – 1613) was the master chef for three prince-bishops of Liège in the 16th century: Robert de Berghes, Gérard de Groesbeek, and Ernest of Bavaria and the author of a cookbook, the Ouverture de cuisine, often considered the first cookbook to go beyond medieval recipes and to codify haute cuisine.

ORIGINAL RECIPES AND REDACTIONS

Original:
Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, 1553

23 If you would make a good sausage for a salad 

Then take ten pounds of pork and five pounds of beef, always two parts pork to one part of beef. That would be fifteen pounds. To that one should take eight ounces of salt and two and one half ounces of pepper, which should be coarsely ground, and when the meat is chopped, put into it at first two pounds of bacon, diced. According to how fat the pork is, one can use less or more, take the bacon from the back and not from the belly. And the sausages should be firmly stuffed. The sooner they are dried the better. Hang them in the parlor or in the kitchen, but not in the smoke and not near the oven, so that the bacon does not melt. This should be done during the crescent moon, and fill with the minced meat well and firmly, then the sausages will remain good for a long while. Each sausage should be tied above and below and also fasten a ribbon on both ends with which they should be hung up, and every two days they should be turned, upside down, and when they are fully dried out, wrap them in a cloth and lay them in a box. 




If you would make a good sausage for a salad – Redaction:
As I was wishing to do a test batch, I decided to cut the directions in half. I still had a ton of meat to stuff. For ease (and to spare my hands) I purchased the meat ground up. In period they would have chopped/ground it up themselves. The texture changes when you do that. In the future I may try that and see if there is much difference.

5lbs Ground Pork
2.5lbs Ground Beef
1lb Bacon
4oz of Salt
1.2oz Ground Pepper
1/3 pound of Pork Fat
25 standard sausage casings

I took all the meat, salt and pepper, and mixed it together by hand in a huge bowl. Testing the flavor by frying up a small 1 inch patty and tasted it. I left the seasonings as is, but this is a great way to make sure the flavorings are good before stuffing. Using a Kitchen aid with a sausage stuffer attachment, I threaded the casing on the tip of the food extruder (knotting the one end once the casing is fully on) and began to feed the stuffer with the mixture. The attachment filled the casings and when I felt the sausage was big enough and stuffed tightly (about five inches long roughly), I would twist the casing to close off that sausage, trying to keep them roughly the same shape. They were placed in the refrigerator for storage before use.

Next part of the sausage dish cooking project is the main recipe for the Tourney Dish. The recipe is called Sausages with apples, cinnamon and nutmeg from Saulcisses en potage, Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de cuisine, 1585 (France, 1604 – Daniel Myers, trans.).

Original:

Saulcisses en potage.

Prennez les saulsisses, & les fricassez en beurre, puis prennez quartre ou cinq pommes pellées & couppées par petits quartiers, & quartre ou cinq oignons couppez par rondes tranches, & les fricassez en beurre, & les mettez tout dedans vn pot auec les saulsisses, & mettez dedans noix muscade, canelle, auec vin blanc ou rouge, du succre, & le faictes ainsi esteuuer.

Translation:

Sausages in pottage.

Sausages in Pottage. Take sausages, & fry them in butter, then take four or five peeled apples & cut into small quarters, & four or five onions cut into rings, & fry them in butter, & put all of them into a pot with the sausages, & put therein nutmeg, cinnamon, with red or white wine, sugar, & let them then all stew.

Sausages in Pottage – Redaction:

2lbs of sausages
four medium apples
4-5 medium onions
butter for frying
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups semi-dry white wine
sugar to taste

Brown the sausages in a little butter. They need not be fully cooked through because you will be stewing them. Remove them to a heavy, high-sided stewing pot. Peel and core the apples, cut them into small chunks and brown them in the same pan you just browned the sausages in. When they have browned, remove them to the stew pot. Cut the onions into wide rounds about ¼” thick. Brown them in the apple/sausage pan until they are well browned, remove to the stew pot. Let the browning pan cool a little and take about ½ cup of the wine and reconstitute the pan drippings. Try to get off as much as you can because it will add flavor to the pottage, then add it to the stew pot. Add the remainder of the wine, spices and sugar. Let the pottage cook covered over a low heat for an hour. Check it at that time for doneness(allow to stew a little longer if it is not done). If so make sure that it has enough liquid. You don’t want all the liquid to cook away.

Libre del Coch — Chopped Spinach

Libre del Coch was published in 1520 in Barcelona. It was written in Catalan – a language related to, but distinct from, Spanish, written by Ruperto de Nola.

Chopped Spinach [ESPINACAS PICADAS]
You must take spinach and clean it, and wash it very well, and give it a brief boil with water and salt; then press it very well between two chopping-blocks, then chop it very small. And then gently fry it in bacon fat; and when it is gently fried, put it in a pot on the fire, and cook it; and cast in the pot: good broth of mutton, and of bacon which is very fatty and good, only the flower (63) of the pot; and if by chance you wish it, in place of the broth, cast upon it milk of goats or sheep, and if not, of almonds; and take the bacon, and cut it into pieces the size of fingers, and cast them in the pot with the spinach; and depending on what the season it is, if you wish, cast in fresh cheese; you may do it likewise, like the abovementioned slices of bacon; and if you put in a great deal, do not put it in until the spinach is entirely cooked, and cast this in a little before dishing it out; and if you wish also to cast in tender raisins which are cooked, you can do it all around the spinach; and if you do not wish to put in these things, neither bacon nor grated cheese of Aragon, cast parsley and mint with it likewise; and the spinach will be better.
Recipe:
6 oz of Spinach, cleaned
4 tsp bacon fat
4 strips of Bacon, rendered and chopped
1/4 Cup Almond Milk
6 oz Queso Blanco cheese
Salt

Blanch spinach in boiling, salted water. Drain spinach as much as possible then chop finely. Add spinach to a hot pan with bacon fat and bacon to sauté. Cook until everything is warmed through. Place in casserole. Mix in almond milk and cheese. Make sure you sprinkle cheese on the top. Bake in oven, 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

[Comments: Originally I used ½ Almond milk, but the mixture was fairly watery. Cutting down liquid in next try. Maybe grind up spinach before sauté?]

Libre del Coch — Meat Casserole [CAZUELA DE CARNE]

Libre del Coch was published in 1520 in Barcelona. It was written in Catalan – a language related to, but distinct from, Spanish, written by Ruperto de Nola.

Meat Casserole [CAZUELA DE CARNE]
You must take meat and cut it into pieces the size of a walnut, and gently fry it with the fat of good bacon; and when it is well gently fried, cast in good broth, and cook it in a casserole; and cast in all fine spices, and saffron, and a little orange juice or verjuice, and cook it very well until the meat begins to fall apart and only a little broth remains; and then take three or four eggs beaten with orange juice or verjuice, and cast it into the casserole; and when you wish to eat, give it four or five stirs with a large spoon, and then it will thicken; and when it is thick, remove it from the fire; and prepare dishes, and cast cinnamon upon each one. However, there are those who do not wish to cast in eggs or spice, but only cinnamon and cloves, and cook them with the meat, as said above, and cast vinegar on it so that it may have flavor; and there are others who put all the meat whole and in one piece, full of cinnamon, and whole cloves, and ground spices in the broth, and this must be turned little by little, so that it does not cook more at one end than the other. And so nothing is necessary but cloves and cinnamon, and those moderately.

Recipe:
2.5 Lbs of Beef, trimmed and cubed (I used Beef Round)
26 oz Beef Stock (no salt)
6 tbs bacon fat
4 strips bacon, rendered and chopped well
1 Cup Orange Juice
1/8 tsp Saffron (healthy pinch)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and onion powder to season meat
3 eggs

Season beef and brown using bacon fat. Drain and place in large cook pot. Add broth, saffron, bacon and orange juice. Bring to boil, then place on high simmer (slow boil) until the meat falls apart (1.5-3 hours) and the broth cooks down. Skim off any fat. Once cooked down and meat is all tender, add in eggs. Once eggs are thoroughly incorporated, the sauce should be thicker. Serve.

Libre del Coch — Leek Pottage

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Libre del Coch was published in 1520 in Barcelona. It was written in Catalan – a language related to, but distinct from, Spanish, written by Ruperto de Nola.

LEEK POTTAGE [POTAJE DE PORRADA]
You must take leeks, well-peeled, and washed and cleaned the night before, set them to soak in an earthen bowl filled with water, in the night air; and let them be this way all night until the morning; and then give them a boil, moderately, because they are very difficult to cook; and when they are well-boiled, press them a great deal between two chopping blocks, and gently fry them with the fat of good bacon; and do not cast salt upon them; and when they are well gently fried, set them to cook in a little good broth which is fatty; and then take almond milk and cast it in the pot and cook it until it is quite thick; and when it is thick, taste it for salt, and if it lacks salt cast it in; and then prepare dishes, and [cast] upon them sugar and cinnamon.

Recipe:
3 Large Leeks, washed and chopped
32oz Chicken Broth (no salt)
4 tsp Bacon fat
4 strips Bacon, cooked, rendered and chopped small
3 Cups Almond Milk (possibly creamier with 4 cups)
Salt to taste

Take leeks and boil until tender. Drain. Press to squeeze out as much water as possible. In a hot pan, add bacon fat and leeks. Brown leeks until they are camel zed. Add cooked bacon and mix with leeks. Add stock and almond milk, bring to a quick boil, then lower temperature to a simmer. Simmer at least 30 minutes.

I ended up taking the soup and putting into a blender to liquefy all ingredients. Add salt to taste. You can serve without blending, but the blending makes a very smooth, creamy, soup.

More on Tudor England and Hampton Court

Some more details about Tudor England, cooking, and what was being done in the kitchens at Hampton Court.

What the Cooks Wore and Why in Tudor England, Hampton Court Kitchens

Lighting a Tudor fire without matches

Henry's VIII diet

The Kitchens of Hampton Court

A very good friend of mine posted a lovely video about the Kitchens at Hampton Court. Over the years, I knew that when you visited the site in the UK, that there were demos and people using the kitchens. However, I never thought to look at You Tube to see if there were any videos on the subject.

Here are a few videos about Tudor cooking (Henry the VIII) and life in Hampton Court, showing how the recreate the past first hand.

Henry the VIII Kitchens at Hampton Court

King's Confectionary

Show and Tell with Spices

Thanksgiving Turkey

By Patricia Lammerts

Unlike many new world foods, the turkey was accepted readily by the 16th century cook and diner. Why? Because the turkey is a very large bird, and, while its appearance would have been somewhat unusual for the 16th century person to behold, the concept of eating large birds was not foreign to them. Many people confused them with Guinea Fowl. They also were confused as to where turkeys came from. The common misconception was that they came from Turkey, hence the name.

References can be found concerning turkeys from England in 1541, where they were listed in sumptuary laws, along with other large birds. The price of purchasing a turkey was fixed in England in the mid-1550’s for the London markets and Thomas Tusser wrote in 1557 in his book entitled, “ A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie” of feeding turkeys on runcivall peas, and of eating them for Christmas.

Turkeys were not only accepted in England, but also in Italy and France. Liliane Plouvier wrote a learned paper on the history of turkeys in Europe. She found accounts of Queen Margueritte of Navarre raising turkeys in 1534, while 66 turkeys were served at a feast for Catherine de Medici in 1549. In Belgium, turkey was served three different ways [boiled with oysters, roasted and served cold, and baked in a pastry] for a banquet held in Liege in 1557.

Recipes for turkey can be found in Bartolomeo Scappi’s cookbook “Opera dell’arte del Cucinare”, printed in 1570. Recipes and a drawing of a turkey can be found in Marxen Rumpolt’s cookbook “Ein Neu Kochbuch” printed in 1581.

Here is the first recipe given by Rumpolt and the only one that talks about roasting and not grinding the meat for a terrine or a pie.

I.
Warm abgebraten mit einem Pobrat/ oder trucken gegeben/ Oder
kalt lassen werden/ denn es ist ein gut Essen/ wen{n}s kalt ist.
I.
Warm roasted off with a sauce/ or served dry/ Or
let it (get) cold/ because it is a good meal/ when it is cold.

This is a good sauce recipe from Robert May’s “The Accomplished Cook”:

_Sauces for all manner of roast Land-Fowl, as Turkey, Bustard, Peacock, Pheasant, Partridge_, &c.

4. Onions slic’t and boil’d in fair water, and a little salt, a few bread crumbs beaten, pepper, nutmeg, three spoonful of white wine, and some lemon-peel finely minced, and boil’d all together: being almost boil’d put in the juyce of an orange, beaten butter, and the gravy of the fowl.

Here is a stuffing recipe from Scappi:

To make various stuffings, of those one can stuff various joints of four legged animals, and many flying animals, the which one has to boil with water and salt. Cap CXVI

Take for every pound of old cheese grated, six ounces of fat cheese that is not too salty, & three ounces of nutmeg ground in the mortar and peeled, two ounces of crumb of bread soaked in [turkey] broth, & pounded in the mortar, three ounces of … fresh butter, three ounces of currants (dried grapes) peeled, half an ounce between pepper and cinnamon & saffron enough, mix everything together with eight eggs in the way that the stuffing is neither too liquid nor too firm.

Unfortunately, due to my mother’s recent death, I have been unable to redact these recipes into modern form. This will give a chance to those wishing to experiment.

A Sallet of all Kinds of Hearbes and Cucumbers

A Sallet of all Kinds of Hearbes and Cucumbers
From Thomas Dawson, The good huswifes Jewell, 1587.

Take your hearbes and picke them very fine into faire water, and wash them all clean, and swing them in a strainer, and when you put them in a dish, mingle them with Cowcumbers or Lemmans payred and sliced, and scrape Sugar, and put in Vinegar and Oyle and hard Egges boyled and laid about the dish and upon the Sallet.

For the dressing:

1 tbsp sugar, either white or brown
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Mix together in a bowl and set aside.

For the salad:

1 package, mixed salad greens
1 bunch flat-leafed parsley, stemmed
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
1 bunch fresh tarragon, stemmed
3 tbsp fresh chervil leaves
1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled and sliced coarsely
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges.

Wash all greens and herbs. Place into a medium sized muslin draw-string bag and spin the bag until most of the moisture has been removed. [This is an early form of a salad spinner.] Place the greens in a salad bowl and add the cucumbers. Pour on the dressing and toss to mix. Just before serving, add the hard boiled egg wedges decoratively on top and serve it forth.

Notes:

Olive oil: I just used regular, but any kind you like on a salad would be fine.  The recipe said only oil, not even olive oil, but I used my preference of olive oil.  I suppose that sesame or almond oil could be okay also, but I don’t think of those as salad oils.  The vagueness of this recipe I find challenging and exciting.  I could make it so many different ways and, as long as I use period ingredients known to that country and era, I am within the parameters of the recipe.
 
Sugar: Again, whatever you prefer.  I used regular white sugar, but I thought that a light or golden brown sugar would be fine also. Elizabethans had both.  I suppose that raw sugar could be used if you don’t mind the added expense.  All have slightly different tastes, but all are within period usage.
 
Flat-leaf parsley is also called Italian parsley.

Cucumber: A personal choice, whatever you have or like.  I would assume that English would be closer to what Thomas Dawson used, but hot house would be fine also.  Just consider the size of the cucumber and make adjustments.

Tarragon: with no measurements, it is a personal choice.  You could leave this out and still be fine.  I checked other recipes in the book and picked herbs that were used fresh.

Eggs: I used AA large.  It is mostly for decoration.  From discussions that I have read, period eggs were smaller than ours are, but then whatever you like is fine.

I picked this recipe because of it is so non-specific.  It does not even tell you what herbs to use.  To me this is a kind of a “what’s fresh and what do I want to do with this?” kind of recipe.  You can make it in hundreds of different ways and keep coming up with different mixes and flavors.  The last time I served it, I used the Moroccan Preserved Lemon, but most people didn’t like it.  It is expensive to buy, so I left it out of this recipe, but YMMV.  I know very few modern people who would eat fresh lemons sliced in a salad. Meyer Lemons, which are modern, and the sweet lemon was not known in Europe, although India and China knew of it.  This is one of the few specifics mentioned, but it is cucumbers OR lemons. For me cucumbers won out.