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.

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.


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.

4 responses to “Libre del Coch — Amored Hen

  1. The worked out recipe seems to have little connection to the original. The original is for roasting a whole bird, not a collection of drumsticks. The original is partly cooking the chicken before coating it. The original contains nothing suggesting onions or garlic.

    And, as the title makes clear, part of the objective is to end up with a chicken with a crust over it, not a pan of roasted drumsticks.

  2. Thank you so much for you’re comment! You were very right on a number of your points. I went in and explained (hopefully better) why I did what I did.

    Hopefully this at least explains myself.

  3. Pingback: Historische Küche im Netz (Retrospektive) | KuliMa - Kulinarisches Mittelalter Graz

  4. Seeing that the recipe is from 1520, the hens they were roasting were nothing like the hens you buy today. The heritage breeds of chicken I raise, which spend all their day running around outdoors, develop rich, yellow, buttery fat, which melts like butter when you cook these chickens. I have a feeling that the hens they were roasting back then also had this incredible fat which comes from the birds being outdoors and exercising a lot. It’s this butter which would be melting and oozing out of the bird which would turn the egg yolks and sprinkled flour into a nice crust. And as the recipe says, that crust would be as good as the hen.

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