Apicius 2.1.7 and 2.2.4 – Chicken Faggots with Sauce

esicia omentata
pulpam concisam teres cum medulla siliginei in uino infusa; piper, liquamen; si uelis, et bacam mirta extenteratam simul conteres, pusilla esicia formabis intus nucleis et pipere positis; inoluta omento subassabis cum caroeno.
Apicius 2.1.7 (Grocott and Grainger, 2006, 148)

Forcemeat Faggots
You pound chopped meat with fresh white breadcrumbs soaked in wine, with pepper and liquamen; if you wish, you pound crushed myrtle berries with them. You shape the faggots with pine nuts and pepper placed inside. Wrap them in caul fat and grill or roast them with caroenum.

2.2.4 aliter de pullo
piperis grana XXX conteres, mittis liquaminis optimi calicem, careni tantundem, aquae undecim mittes et ad uaporem ignis pones.
Apicius 2.1.7 (Grocott and Grainger, 2006, 150)

Another Sauce for Chicken Forcemeat
pound 30 grains of pepper, add a cup of best quality liquamen, the same amount of caroenum and 11 cups of water and put it over the fire.

Although the faggot recipe does not specify a meat, the chicken goes well with the recipe and has the sauce recipe. I tried the recipe with the myrtle berries but I and my taste testers found the taste far too bitter even though we only added a very small amount. We tried the currants instead and found them an excellent addition.

Ingredients – Chicken Faggots

500g chicken mince 30mL fish sauce 1/2 tsp pepper, finely ground.
120g bread crumbs 30mL vino cotto 60g pine nuts, toasted
60mL white wine Optional: 60g currants Caul fat

Ingredients – Sauce

30mL vino cotto 30mL fish sauce
100mL water 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. To make the sauce, grind the pepper finely and combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Heat to just boiling, then remove from the heat and keep warm.
  2. To make the faggots, combine the bread crumbs and the wine and soak for at least an hour.
  3. Roughly crush the pine nuts in a mortar and pestle, and combine with the pepper.
  4. Combine the chicken mince, wine soaked bread crumbs and fish sauce and currants if using.
  5. Separate the chicken mixture into six portions and shape each into patties. Put a small amount of the pine nut and pepper mix into the middle of each and fold the mince over so the pine nuts and pepper are concealed in the middle.
  6. Wrap each chicken patty in a small piece of caul fat, making sure the fold in the caul fat is not too thick.
  7. Grill the chicken patties, brushing them with the vino cotto as they cook.
  8. Serve immediately with the sauce.


  • Caul fat is a lacy membrane that surrounds the internal organs of animals such as pigs and cows. It helps to bind the chicken mix together and keep it moist while cooking. You should be able to order it from most butchers – look for one that makes their own sausages and charcuterie.

    Caul fat

  • Liquamen is a fish sauce, probably thinner in texture than the better known garum. (Grainger, 2005).
  • Careonum is thought to be a syrupy sauce made from boiling down the must left over from wine making (Grainger 2006, 31). This is similar to the modern vino cotto, which I use as a substitute.
  • The unit of measure used in the sauce, the calix indicates a wine cup but it is unknown how big this was (Grocock and Grainger, 2006, 84).


Further Reading

Click on the links below to order directly from The Book Depository.
Grainger, Sally (2005). “Towards an Authentic Roman Sauce.” 2005 Oxford Food Symposium
Grainger, Sally (2006). Cooking Apicius.
Grocock, Christopher and Grainger, Sally (2006). Apicius.

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.