Friday, July 1, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Beef y-Stywyd - Stewed Beef

Beef y-Stywyd 
This recipe from Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin is very reminiscent of the same flavor profiles one would expect when eating Cincinnati style chili.  It was a huge hit and the taste testers were very quick to remark on how "modern" this recipe tasted. It was also very quick and easy to put together and I plan on serving it at a future lunch tavern and it will definitely make an appearance at a feast.

It is believed that the aurochs, an ancient ancestor of the modern day cattle was domesticated sometime around 8000 BC.  Modern day cattle are believed to have emerged from Turkey. The word cattle is derived from the Anglo-Saxon catel from the Latin capitale meaning "a sum of money, capital." The word cattle originally meant "moveable personal property".  

Cattle had multiple uses including transportation, meat, dairy, and leather products. As previously discussed in my post Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Papyns - Custard, most of the milk that was produced by cows was turned into other dairy products such as cheese and butter.  Medieval cows were also much smaller then modern day cows, averaging 45" from ground to shoulders. 

.vj. Beef y-Stywyd.—Take fayre beef of þe rybbys of þe fore quarterys, an smyte in fayre pecys, an wasche þe beef in-to a fayre potte; þan take þe water þat þe beef was soþin yn, an strayne it þorw a straynowr, an sethe þe same water and beef in a potte, an let hem boyle to-gederys; þan take canel, clowes, maces, graynys of parise, quibibes, and oynons y-mynced, perceli, an sawge, an caste þer-to, an let hem boyle to-gederys; an þan take a lof of brede, an stepe it with brothe an venegre, an þan draw it þorw a straynoure, and let it be stylle; an whan it is nere y-now, caste þe lycour þer-to, but nowt to moche, an þan let boyle onys, an cast safroun þer-to a quantyte; þan take salt an venegre, and cast þer-to, an loke þat it be poynaunt y-now, & serue forth.

vj - Beef y-Stywyd. Take fayre beef of the rybbys of the fore quarterys, an smyte in fayre pecys, an wasche the beef in-to a fayre potte; than take the water that the beef was sothin yn, an strayne it thorw a straynowr, an sethe the same water and beef in a potte, an let hem boyle to-gederys; than take canel, clowes, maces,graynys of parise, quibibes, and oynons y-mynced, perceli, an sawge, an caste ther-to, an let hem boyle to-gederys; an than take a lof of brede, an stepe it with brothe an venegre, an than draw it thorw a straynoure, and let it be stylle; an whan it is nere y-now, caste the lycour ther-to, but nowt to moche, an than let boyle onys, an cast safroun ther-to a quantyte; than take salt an venegre, and cast ther-to, an loke that it be poynaunt y-now, and serue forth.

6. Beef Stewed - Take fair beef of the ribs of the fore quarters, and chop (smite) in fair pieces, and wash the beef into a fair pot; then take the water that the beef was washed (sothin) in, and strain it through a strainer, and set the same water and beef in a pot, and let them boil together; then take cinnamon, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, cubebs, and onions minced, parsley and sage, and cast thereto and let them boil together; and then take a loaf of bread, and steep it with broth and vinegar, and then draw it through a strainer, and let it be still; and when it is near enough, cast the liquor thereto, but not too much, and then let boil once, and cast saffron thereto a quantity; then take salt and vinegar and cast thereto, and look that it be sharp (sour) enough, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                   Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side

1/4 pound beef for stew
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cloves
1/4 tsp. mace
1/8 tsp. each grains of paradise and cubebs
1/4 cup pearl onions or 1/8 cup minced onions
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. sage
Pinch of saffron
2-3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

Place into pot the beef, broth, spices, onions and vinegar and bring to a boil.  Cook until beef has become tender and onions are cooked.  Add breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time and stir until the bread dissolves and sauce thickens to your desire.  

This recipe would lend itself very nicely to a crockpot for a small family stew.  If you are cooking larger portions for a feast, you could use a roaster set at approximately 200 degrees for 8-10 hours, or 250 degrees for 4-6 hours.

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Stwed Beeff. Take faire Ribbes of ffresh beef, And (if thou wilt) roste hit til hit be nygh ynowe; then put hit in a faire possenet; caste ther-to parcely and oynonsmynced, reysons of corauns, powder peper, canel, clowes, saundres, safferon, and salt; then caste there-to wyn and a litull vynegre; sette a lyd on the potte, and lete hit boile sokingly on a faire charcole til hit be ynogh; then lay the fflessh, in disshes, and the sirippe there-vppon, And serve it forth.