Mounchelet (Veal and Onion Pottage)

MOUNCHELET.
Take Veel oþer Moton and smite it to gobettes seeþ it in gode broth. cast þerto erbes yhewe [2] gode wyne. and a quantite of Oynouns mynced. Powdour fort and Safroun. and alye it with ayren and verious. but lat not seeþ after.
The Forme of Cury 18.

MOUNCHELET.
Take veal or mutton and smite it into gobbets. Seethe it in good broth. Cast thereto chopped herbs and good wine, and a quantity of minced onions, powder fort and saffron, and thicken it with eggs and verjuice. But let it not seethe after.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

Veal was eaten most commonly in the spring, as part of the end of Lent (Wilson, 2003, 88); households with the means and inclination would slaughter at least one male calf in the spring to obtain rennet for cheese (Wilson, 2003, 151). Mutton could be obtained at any time of the year, but is quite hard to find today. If using veal, remember it is quite lean and in general will not need much cooking.

Ingredients

500g veal 250mL red wine
500mL beef stock 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 onions (around 400g) 1/4 tsp ground cloves
5 tbs minced herbs 1/4 tsp ground saffron
2 eggs 60mL verjuice

Method

  1. Shred the veal, and finely slice the onions.
  2. Put the stock, wine, meat, onions, herbs and spices into a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer until the meat is cooked.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and the verjuice. Add a ladleful of the pottage liquid to the egg mixture, and whisk in.
  4. Remove the pottage from the heat, and add the egg mixture. Stir well to completely incorporate the egg and cook it.

Notes

  • “Powder fort” is a spice mix that translates to “strong powder.” Hieatt and Butler suggest pepper and cloves (Hieatt and Butler, 1985, 208-209).
  • I used a mix of sage, oregano and thyme in the pottage. These are all herbs that can stand being cooked without losing their flavour, go well with beef and were available in period.
  • Adding a ladleful of stock to the eggs before adding the eggs to the pottage brings the temperature of the eggs up and ensures they won’t curdle when added to the pottage.
  • As the recipe specifies, DO NOT LET THE POTTAGE REBOIL AFTER THE EGGS ARE ADDED. This would cause the eggs to curdle and split rather than incorporating into the pottage broth.
  • If you are lucky enough to find mutton, it will probably need to be cooked a lot longer to make the meat tender, as mutton comes from older sheep.

Mounchelet - C14 English veal stew.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.
Wilson, C. Anne (2003). Food and Drink in Britain.

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