Friday, February 5, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Rapeye of Fleysshe - Meat Sauce

Rapeye - Medieval Meat Sauce of ground pork, honey, egg and broth, sprinkled with a mix of ginger and galingale. 


Medieval meat sauce! Yes, these are two examples of dishes that as I interpreted very closely resemble a meat sauce that you would serve over pasta. In trying to define the word "Rapeye" several sources refer to "Rapeye" as a thick spiced sauce, made of fruit and boiled with wine.  Yes, there are recipes for this dish that do resemble the defination.  This one does not, and being unusual to begin with begged to be tried.

The recipe for this dish can be found at  Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55" Thomas Austin.

.Cvj. Rapeye of Fleysshe. — Take lene Porke y-sode & y-grounde smalle, & tempere it vppe w/t/( )e self broj^e, & do it in a potte, an caste J^er-to a lytil honye, & boyle it tyl it be chargeaunt ; & a-lye it wyth pYkjs of Eyroun, & coloure it with Saunderys, & dresse forth, and ponder Marchaunt.

Cvj - Rapeye of Fleysshe. Take lene Porke y-sode and y-grounde smalle, and tempere it vppe with the self brothe, and do it in a potte, an caste ther-to a lytil honye, and boyle it tyl it be chargeaunt; and a-lye it wyth 3olkys of Eyroun, and coloure it with Saunderys, and dresse forth, and pouder Marchaunt.

106. Rapeye of Flesch - Take lean pork soaked and ground small and temper it up with the same broth and do it in a pot, and cast there-to a little honey, and boil it till it be thick: and mix it with yolks of egg, and color it with saunders, and dress forth, and powder Marchaunt.

A search for the term Marchaunt brought forth this information from the Online Etymology Dictionary. It is safe, therefore, I believe to assume that the "pouder Marchaunt" that is referred to in the recipe above indicates a spice mix that was purchased from a merchant already blended. As the Rapeye recipe resembles closely the recipe for Murray recipe, I used the same spices to dress this dish; ginger & galingale.
merchandise (n.) 
mid-13c., "trading, commerce;" mid-14c., "commodities of commerce, wares, articles for sale or trade," from Anglo-French marchaundise, Old Frenchmarcheandise "goods, merchandise; trade, business" (12c.), from marchaunt "merchant" (see merchant).

Interpreted Recipe                                                              Serves 1 as a main, 2 (or more) as a side

1/4 pound Ground pork
1 Cup Beef broth -or- chicken broth -or- pork broth -or- mix 50/50 beef and pork (I used beef)
1 Tsp. Honey
1-2 Egg yolks (I used two because I wanted a thicker product)
1 Heaping Tsp. Sanders (I have chips, so if you have powder you will want to use less and may get a better color result)
Salt and Pepper to taste
A pinch of ginger and galingale

Add the sanders to the broth and heat to a simmer.  Cover and set aside letting the color from the sanders leech into the broth, for me, I got a lovely orange-ish color, but I did not attain the red that I was expecting so I may not have used enough sanders.  Once the broth has reached the desired color, you will need to strain it (if you are using chips).

Return the broth to the pot and add the pork broken into small pieces and the honey.  Bring to a boil and cook until the pork is no fully cooked. Temper the egg yolks with some of the heated broth, and then return the eggs to the pan.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened to your preference.  This mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.  You may want to remove it from the heat a little bit before you reach your preference. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Before serving sprinkle with a pinch of ginger and galingale.

I think I got this a little too thick before removing it from the fire.  By the time the pictures were taken the Rapeye had thickened to a soft pudding.

The kids who have become my regular group of guinea pigs have now learned to trust the cook.  They ate it and enjoyed it.   I am iffy on this dish, not because of the taste which was quite good, but because of the appearance.

Rapeye is not the most appetizing dish to look at (one of my testers said it resembled cat puke), and with that lovely description, this dish might fall into the category of something that could be just a little bit "too" period.  *IF* I were to serve this dish at an event, I would introduce it as a side dish so that the most brave among my audience could give it a try.  I would not introduce it as a main course--I would be afraid that my diners might put up white flags of surrender. However, because this is a meat sauce this might be a great dish to serve as an accompaniment to a dish of noodles or rice.  Maybe if the hall is dark enough........nobody would notice?

Rapeye (on the left) and Murrey (on the right) two examples of a medieval meat sauce.