Finding inexpensive items to cook for large amounts of people can be a bit challenging. Seasonality is key to making truly delicious dishes for your family and friends. This recipe hails from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, which was a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain, edited by Isabella Beeton and published 1861.
Cabbage is a fantastically healthy vegetable which is good both raw and cooked. This recipe can be adjusted for vegetarian preferences if you remove the bacon and replace with a dab of butter. You can also add mushrooms to this to add in a more “meat like” and umami flavor.
118. INGREDIENTS.—1 large cabbage, 3 carrots, 2 onions, 4 or 5 slices of lean bacon, salt and pepper to taste, 2 quarts of medium stock No. 105.
Mode.—Scald the cabbage, exit it up and drain it. Line the stewpan with the bacon, put in the cabbage, carrots, and onions; moisten with skimmings from the stock, and simmer very gently, till the cabbage is tender; add the stock, stew softly for half an hour, and carefully skim off every particle of fat. Season and serve.
Time.—1-1/2 hour. Average cost, 1s. per quart.
Seasonable in winter.
Sufficient for 8 persons.
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.
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.
Posted in 16th Century, Recipe
Tagged 16th Century, 16th Century Recipe, historic cooking, Leek Pottage, Libre del Coch, medieval, Medieval Spanish Food, Medieval Spanish Recipe, pottage, Ruperto de Nola, soup, vegetable soup