Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Murrey - Another Meat Sauce

Murrey - Meat sauce seasoned with ginger and galingale, sweetened with a touch of honey and thickened with bread.  Normally colored with Saunders. 
Two unusual recipes caught my interest while I was researching 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 and I had determined that I was going to try them. They both appeared to be recipes for a kind of "meat sauce".

Murrey, like Rapeye, is another recipe that appears to be the name for a kind of sauce, in this case, one that is red, or reddish, in color, and thickened. For example, this recipe is from the Forme of Curye, written approximately 1390, shows a very early form of the recipe that I used.
.xxxviij. Morree. Tak almaundes blaunched, waisch hem, grynde hem, & temper hem up with rede wyne, & alye hem with flour of rys, do therto pynes & fryed & colour it with saundres, do therto poudour fort & poudour douce and salt & messe hit forth & flour hit with aneys confyt whyte.
This recipe from MS Royal 12 (1340), references the various different ingredients that you can use to complete the sauce.
Moree. rice flour or amidon, whichever can be found; that the color of sandalwood will be had, grind well in a mortar; and then it must be tempered in almond milk and well strained. And then put powdered cinnamon and of galingale. If it is a fish day, put in pears or chestnuts or salmon, or luce or perch; if a meat day, put in veal orgoat, if you would have a good and royal meat. 
Below is the original recipe from 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.

Mxxj. Murrey. — Take Porke an Yele, & sethe it, & grynd it, & draw it with Jie self brothe ; J^en take bred y-gratyd, & pouder of Gyngere & of Galyngale, & Hony, an caste J^er-to, & boyle it y-fere ; & make it chargeaunt, & coloure it with Saunderys & serue f[orth].

To find similar recipes, visit the link below. It will lead you to Dan Myers' Medieval Cookery website. I urge anyone with an interest in historic cooking, or if you are foodie, to visit this site.

lxxj - Murrey. Take Porke an Vele, and sethe it, and grynd it, and draw it with the self brothe; then take bred y-gratyd, and pouder of Gyngere and of Galyngale, and Hony, an caste ther-to, and boyle it y-fere; and make it chargeaunt, and coloure it with Saunderys and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

71. Murrey - Take pork and veal and soak it and grind it, and draw it with the same broth; then take bread grated, and powder of Ginger and Galingale, and Honey, and caste there-to, and boil it together; and make it thick, and color it with saunders and serve forth.

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

1/4 Pound ground pork, or ground pork and veal
1 Cup broth (beef, chicken or a 50/50 mix)
1 Tsp. Honey
1/8 Tsp. Ginger and Galingale
3 Tbsp. Bread Crumbs (I used Rastons)
1-2 Tsp. Sandlewood (I had chips--see below for why I didn't use them)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place your broth in a pot and add the sandlewood chips (please note: my daughter wanted to test out a "burgundy" food dye for an upcoming play on red velvet cake, so we skipped this entirely, and instead added the tiniest amount of the food dye to the broth. This turned it a lovely "raw meat" red and led to a few questions about food safety--do not do this ever!!!! The picture shows questionably colored meat but I do assure you, was thoroughly cooked, albeit dyed pork!)

Bring the broth to a simmer and remove from the heat.  Allow the sandlewood to steep until the broth takes on a reddish hue (approximately 5-15 minutes) then strain the chips from the broth.

Return the broth to the stove, and add the ground pork, making sure to break it into small pieces as you add it to the broth. Once the pork has been added and begins to cook add the honey, ginger and galingale.  Let cook until the pork has been cooked through, and add the bread crumbs. Once the bread has been added stir the mixture until the sauce has thickened to your preference.  Remove from heat, taste for seasoning and serve.

These are very easy to put together and an effective use I believe for any leftover ground pork, or in this case, pork and veal (or hamburger) that you might have.  It reminds me of bolognese sauce made without tomato.  I could almost imagine that this could be one of the very earliest recipes for the great modern day Italian bolognese sauce.

The beauty of this dish is that we are told to "make it chargeaunt", meaning, make it thick, but the thickness of this dish is up to the cook. Like Rapeye, I chose to make this a very thick, almost dry, sauce. I do know that I will be serving this dish again in the future, possibly as a sauce to put with rice, or noodles.

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

An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook (Andalusia, 13th c. - Charles Perry, trans.)

A Dish of Murri from Any Meat You Wish. Put meat in the pot and throw on it spices, an onion pounded with cilantro and salt, and throw on it three spoonfuls of murriand one spoonful of vinegar, and the same of oil, and fry and cover with oil and cook until done and browned. Ladle out and sprinkle with pepper and cinnamon. If you omit the vinegar, it is good, and if you throw in soaked garbanzos and a little rue, it is good, God willing.