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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday Recipe - Medieval Feast

Once again, please welcome Sue Burke into my kitchen. She's got a tasty medieval feast for us.

A medieval Spanish dinner

History tastes good. I'm translating a medieval Spanish novel, Amadis of Gaul, at http://amadisofgaul.blogspot.com/ It's a novel of chivalry, and while the book says that the knights ate well in their castles, it doesn't say exactly what they ate.

But old cookbooks exist, so we know. This is a rather simple meal, but tasty and easy to cook. Remember to round it out with bread, olives, and wine.

TOLEDO RABBIT

Rabbit is still common in Spanish supermarkets, but you can substitute chicken.

salt to taste
a good handful of parsley
two spoons of vinegar
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
one rabbit, cut into quarters or pieces

Crush the garlic, salt, and parsley in a mortar, then add vinegar and oil to make a paste. Spread it over the rabbit, and bake in a 350ยบ oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.

AL-ANDALUS ONIONS

Note the Moorish influence.

medium-sized onions
saffron
ground cinnamon, cloves, or other sweet spices (I recommend ginger)
salt if desired
butter
honey or sugar

Peel the onions and cut a cross at the root end. Arrange them in a cooking pan, root end down, next to each other, but not crowded. Sprinkle with salt, saffron, and spices. Cover with water and add a little butter and the sugar or honey. Cook uncovered over a slow fire for about 20 or 30 minutes until the onions are tender and the water has evaporated. Be careful at the end to be sure the onions and sugar caramelize but do not burn.

ALMOND PUDDING (MENJAR BLANC)

This comes from a 14th-century Catalan cookbook, Libro de Sen Sove. You can substitute a quart of cow milk, soy milk, etc., for the almond milk.

2 cups blanched and skinned almonds
1 quart boiling water
1 cinnamon stick
1 large piece of lemon peel, yellow part
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. rice flour (or cornstarch)

Grind or very finely chop the almonds. Place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, let them sit for at least 10 minutes, then pour through a cheesecloth, squeezing tight. Put the almond milk in a saucepan, add cinnamon, lemon peel, and sugar. Simmer a few minutes. Dissolve the flour in a little liquid and add, stirring constantly until thickened, and simmer a few minutes more. Remove the cinnamon and lemon peel, pour into a mold, and chill.

— Sue Burke

Thanks again for sharing your wonderful recipes.