Apple Sauce for Poultry

8 Ain brielin mitt epffel zú machen jber wilbret vnnd klaine vegellen
Nempt gút epffel vnnd schelts vnnd stosts an ainem riebeissen vnnd thiet ain wenig schmaltz jn ainer pfannen jber vnnd lasts haiß werden vnnd thiet die epffel darein vnnd lasts darin resten, thiet darnach gúten wein daran, zúcker, rerlach, saffera, ain wenig jmber vnnd lands ain weil anainander sieden, so jst es gemacht, man soll die klaine vegellen vor sieden vnnd darnach jn ainem schmaltz resten.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

To make a sauce with apples for game and small birds
Take good apples and peel them and grate them with a grater and put a little fat in a pan over [the fire] and let it become hot and put the apples in it and let them roast therein. After that put good wine thereon, sugar, cinnamon, saffron and some ginger and let it cook together for a while, then it is ready. One should boil the small birds first and then roast them in fat.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Sauces were an essential part of medieval and early modern cooking. As well as enhancing flavour, they were an essential part of healthy cooking. The practice of medicine was dominated by the theory of the four humours – fire, earth, water and air. Every food was dominated by one of these humours, some to a level that was considered dangerous. Using the right sauce with a particular dish could reign in this danger and make the food more healthful (Scully, 1995, 13). However, too much of a particular sauce could be harmful in itself! (Klemettilä, 2012, 87).

Sauces were typical accompaniments for boiled or roasted meat. They were a particular mark of social distinction, and Germany was particularly well known for fruit sauces such as this one (Bach, 2016, 150). The quantity of sauce below makes a generous accompaniment for around 500g of meat.

Ingredients

400g cooking apples (approx. 2) 40g caster sugar
50g butter ½ tsp cinnamon
125mL white wine ½ tsp ginger
Pinch saffron

Method

  1. Grind the saffron and soak in boiling water, which will turn bright orange.
  2. Peel, core and grate the apples.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan, and add the apple. Fry it until it softens.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the saffron water, and cook until the desired consistency has reached. Stir occasionally.
  5. Serve warm, with chicken wings (as displayed below) or any other poultry.
  6. The sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated.

Notes

Sauce for small birds

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Bach, Volker (2016). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.
Klemettilä, Hannele (2012). The Medieval Kitchen.
Scully, Terence, 1995. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

Cherry Sauce for Roasted Meats

Zum ein salsenn von weichselnn zu machen.
Item wiltu machen ein gutte salsenn von weichselnn, so thue die weichsell in einen hafen vnd secz die auff ein glut vnd laß sie siedenn vnd laß dann wider erkaltenn vnd streich sie durch ein tuch vnd thue sie dann wider in den hafenn vnd secz sie auff ein glut vnd laß sie wol sieden vnd rurr sie, piß sie dick wirt, vnd thue dann honig dar an vnd geribens prot vnd negellein vnd gut gestu:ep vnd thue sie in ein feßlein. Sie pleibt dir gut drew oder vier iar.
Das Kochbuch des Meisters Eberhard, mid C15

To make a sauce of tart cherries.
If you wish to make a good sauce of tart cherries, put the cherries into a pot and place it on the embers and let them boil. Then cool down again and pass them through a cloth, put it back into the pot, place it on the embers and let it boil well until it thickens. Then add honey and grated bread and cloves and good spice powder and put it into a small cask. It will stay good three or four years.

The text and translation of the recipe can be found here. The translation was done by Master Giano Balestriere (Volker Bach).

Sauces were an essential part of medieval and early modern cooking. As well as enhancing flavour, they were an essential part of healthy cooking. The practice of medicine was dominated by the theory of the four humours – fire, earth, water and air. Every food was dominated by one of these humours, some to a level that was considered dangerous. Using the right sauce with a particular dish could reign in this danger and make the food more healthful (Scully, 1995, 13). However, too much of a particular sauce could be harmful in itself! (Klemettilä, 2012, 87).

Sauces were typical accompaniments for boiled or roasted meat. Cherry sauce was a popular condiment in early modern Germany; most recipe collections contain at least one recipe (Bach, 2016, 151). Sabina Welserin’s cook book doesn’t contain a general recipe, but specifies to serve boar’s head with sour cherry sauce (recipe 5) and roast venison with a sauce that contains cherry syrup (recipe 7). This cherry sauce is quite robust, and I feel is best with strongly flavoured meats. The recipe below makes enough to be a generous accompaniment for 1kg of roast lamb.

Ingredients

100g morello cherries, drained (see notes) ¼ tsp ground cloves
50mL honey ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbs bread crumbs ¼ tsp nutmeg

Method

  1. Drain the cherries and reserve the liquid.
  2. Put the cherries into a pan with a small amount of water, and over a low heat, cook the cherries until they have softened. Top up the cooking water as required. You could also use the liquid you drained from the cherries.
  3. When the cherries have softened, push them through a coarse strainer, or use a food processor or blender to process to a puree.
  4. Return the cherry puree to the heat, and add the honey and spices.
  5. When the mixture is boiling again, add the breadcrumbs, and stir until it thickens.
  6. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then pour into a storage container or serving dish.
  7. The sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated. It works well served with strong flavoured meats.

Notes

  • Morello cherries have a much higher acid content than regular cherries, and thus have a much more sour taste. In fact, they are so sour they are virtually impossible to eat fresh, so they are usually preserved in syrup. If you want to use fresh Morello cherries, you will probably have to grow them yourself.
  • As with many period recipes, the spice mix is left to the cook. Cinnamon and nutmeg is a favourite combination of mine. Other spices that could work are galingale, ginger or pepper.
  • It is far better to make your own breadcrumbs rather than use bought ones – the texture of freshly made crumbs is superior. You can either use a fine grater or a food processor to produce breadcrumbs.

Lamb with cherry sauce

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Bach, Volker (2016). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.
Klemettilä, Hannele (2012). The Medieval Kitchen.
Scully, Terence, 1995. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

Sauce Persley

Sauce percely. Take perceley, and grynde hit wiþ vynegre & a litel brede and salt, and strayne it þurgh a straynour, and serue it forþe. Ashmole MS. 1439, Sauces, Recipe 14.

Parsley Sauce. Take parsley, and grind it with vinegar and a little bread and salt, and strain it through a strainer, and serve it forth.

This is an excellent recipe to have around for those terrifying occasions when you are running a feast, extra people show up, and you realise the food you’re preparing won’t serve everybody. Parsley is easy to get hold of, and you will probably have the other ingredients to hand. Purchase some ready roasted chickens (like the one in the photograph below), and you should be OK.

It’s also really tasty, so it’s a great one to include in any feast anyway.

Ingredients

1 cup/bunch parsley leaves approx. 150mL wine vinegar
approx. 20g breadcrumbs Salt to taste

Method

  1. Using a mortar and pestle or blender, pulverise the parsley, salt and vinegar to form a paste. Add more vinegar as necessary.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs and continue to pulverise to mix everything together.
  3. If you used the mortar and pestle, push through a rigid, fine mesh strainer to ensure the sauce is smooth.
  4. Serve at room temperature. It goes well with any poultry or fish.

Notes

  • This is a recipe where using a mortar and pestle can actually be easier than a blender, and the end paste is generally mushy enough that passing it through a strainer is relatively easy (and results in a much smoother sauce). If you prefer to use power tools, I would recommend a stab mixer – the parsley tends to spin away from the blades of a blender too quickly.
  • If you find the taste of the sauce too sour from the vinegar, you can add more breadcrumbs, or honey or lemon juice. Honey is sweet and will counteract the sourness. Lemon juice is also sour, but has a different flavour profile which also counters the vinegar. Don’t add water, which will just make the sauce runny without doing a thing about the vinegar. However, remember it’s going to be served with meat, and the extra tartness from the vinegar pairs well with most meats.

Sauce Persley

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.

Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books.

Apicius 6.2.6 – “Another Recipe for Boiled Crane or Duck” (Green Sauce for Duck)


aliter in grue uel anate elixa: piper ligusticum apii semen erucam et coriandrum mentam careotam; mel acetum liquamen defritum et sinape. idem faciet et [si] in [caccabo] assas.
Apicius – De re coquinaria

Another recipe for boiled crane or duck
Pepper, lovage, celery seed, rocket and coriander, mint, date, honey, vinegar, liquamen, defrutum and mustard. It is equally suitable for roast [or grilled] (birds).

This text and translation are taken from Sally Grainger and Christopher Grocock’s Apicius (2006) (p224-225).

Like many recipes in Apicius, this recipe is just a list of ingredients. Because this can be served with roasted or grilled birds (Grocock and Grainger, 2006, 225), I have interpreted it as a sauce.

Ingredients

3 tbs rocket 15mL wine vinegar 1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbs coriander 15mL fish sauce 1/2 tsp celery seed
2 tbs mint 15mL vino cotto 30mL honey
40g dates 15mL mustard 1 tbs lovage

Method

  1. Finely chop all the herbs.
  2. Finely grind all the
  3. In a mortar and pestle, pound the dates to a paste.
  4. Combine all the other ingredients in the mortar and pestle and combine well into a sauce.
  5. You can also combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulverise.
  6. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

  • Lovage is a herb with a very similar taste to celery leaf. Sally Grainger (2006, 23) believes the seeds were more likely to be used than the leaves, as lovage is generally listed among the spices rather than the herbs, but the leaves and seeds have a similar flavour, so if you can’t find the seeds, use the leaves. You will probably have to grow it yourself, but it is easy to grow from seeds, and you can generally find plants at nurseries.
  • 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, 30). This is similar to the modern vino cotto, which I use as a substitute.

Green Sauce for Duck

Further Reading

Click on the links below to order directly from The Book Depository.

Grainger, Sally. “Towards an Authentic Roman Sauce.” 2005 Oxford Food Symposium
Grainger, Sally. Cooking Apicius.
Grocock, Christopher and Grainger, Sally. Apicius.

Lumbard Mustard (Honey Mustard Sauce)

Take mustard seed and waisshe it, & drye it in an ovene. Grynde it drye; sarse it thurgh a sarse. Clarifie hony with wyne & vyneger& stere it wel togedre and make it thikke ynowgh; & whan thou wilt spende therof make it thynne with wyne. The Forme of Curye 150

Take mustard seed and wash it and dry it in an oven. Grind it dry and sieve it. Clarify honey with wine and vinegar and stir it well together and make it thick enough; and when you would use it make it thin with wine.

Ingredients

150 mL honey 2 tbs mustard powder
2 tbs wine vinegar 50 mL red wine

Method

Mix all ingredients, and heat just before serving.

Notes

  • This sauce could be served with any roast meat. It is particularly good with chicken and beef.
  • I would not recommend preparing this sauce ahead of time. The longer it’s left, the stronger the mustard gets, and that can be unpleasant (though it will clear the sinuses!)

Roast_Beef_with_Aliper_and_Mustard

Lumbard Mustard Sauce, foreground, with roast beef and Sauce Alepeure – recipe here

Sauce Alepeure (Garlic-Pepper Sauce)

Sauce alepeuere. Take fayre broun brede, toste hit, and stepe it in vinegre, and drawe it thurwe a straynour; and put ther-to garleke smal y-stampyd, poudre piper, salt, and serue forth. (MS. Ashmole 1439.2)

Sauce alepuere. Take fair brown bread, toast it, and steep it in vinegar, and draw it through a strainer, and put thereto garlic small stamped, pepper powder, salt and serve it forth.

Ingredients

4 slices toasted brown bread 4 cloves crushed garlic
½ cup wine vinegar 2 tsp pepper
1 cup beef stock Salt

Method

  1. Soak bread in vinegar for around 5 minutes.
  2. Add bread and vinegar to a blender with the beef stock, garlic and pepper, and process to a smooth paste. Add more beef stock if you want it thinner.
  3. Put the sauce in a pot and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Blend again, then serve. It can be served hot or cold.

Notes

  • This is ideal made ahead of time, as it improves the longer the flavours are allowed to meld.

Roast_Beef_with_Aliper_and_Mustard

Sauce Alepeure, background, with roast beef and Lumbard Mustard Sauce – recipe here