Sunday, 21 November 2010

Medieval lamb stew - and how cooking methods have changed

We get stuck with out assumptions and presumptions about cooking. And we take it as read that the techniques our mothers (or the nice bloke off the telly) told us are the only way. We brook no alternatives.

So it comes as a surprise to read this recipe:

Mounchelet: Take veel other motoun and smyte it to gobettes. Seeth it in gode broth; cast thereto erbes yhewe gode won, and a quantite of oynouns minced, powdour fort and safroun, and alye it with ayren and various: but let it not seeth after.

(Taken from Maggie Black, the Medieval Cookbook)

You’ve seen the difference straight away, I know. Although we’ve been told all those years to “seal the meat” for a stew, those medieval chaps simply dumped the meat into the boiling stock. Which, of course, is so much healthier and seals the meat just as well!

The bit about ‘alye it with ayren’ is also interesting – this is to thicken the stew. And to do that (again to my surprise) you beat eggs and lemon juice together and mix into the stew – ‘gradually’!

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