Apicius 6.2.2 “Another Sauce for Crane, Duck or Chicken” (Plum Sauce for Fowl)

In preparing the dish, I used Apicius by Christopher Grocock and Sally Grainger (Prospect Books, 2006)

In grue, in anate vel in pullo: piper, cepam siccam, ligusticum, cuminum, apii semen, pruna [vel] damascena enucleata, mulsum, acetum, liquamen, defritum, oleum et coques. gruem cum coquis, caput eius aqua quam non contingat, sed sit foris ab aqua. cum cocta fuerit, de sabano calido involves gruem et caput eius trahe. cum nervis sequetur, ut pulpae vel ossa remaneant, cum nervis enim manducare non potest.


Pepper, dried onion, lovage, cumin, celery seed, prunes or Damascus plums stones removed, fresh must, vinegar, liquamen, reduced must and oil. Boil the crane; while cooking it take care that its head is not touched by the water but that it remains without. When the crane is done, wrap it in a hot towel, and pull the head off so that the sinews follow in a manner that the meat and the bones remain; for one cannot enjoy the hard sinews.



2 plums, stoned 1 tbs dried onion
2 tbs vinegar 1 tsp celery seed
1 tbs fish sauce ½ tsp pepper
2 tbs vino cotto ½ tsp cumin
2 tbs olive oil Salt, to taste
1 tbs lovage, chopped


Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, pulverise all ingredients to paste. Add more liquid as required. Then heat until bubbling, and pour over duck.


Equipment required: knife, chopping board, food processor or mortar and pestle, sauce pan, stove.

Total Time: approx. 10 minutes.

Difficulty Rating: X

Prep ahead of time? Yes.

Serves: makes approx. 2 cups of sauce

Leftover Potential: reasonable.


  • We served this with fried duck breast rather than boiled duck.
  • As with any sauce, the amounts given are my interpretation and you are free to add more or less of any ingredient according to your taste.
  • The sauce also works well with roasted vegetables.

Allergy Notes

  • Gluten Free
  • Lactose Free
  • Egg-allergy friendly
  • Vegetarian (sauce can be served with vegetables)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.