Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Brawn en Peuerade - Meat (Pork) in Pepper Sauce

Brawn en Peuerade 

After a few weeks of trying to change up the kitchen, I was jonesing to cook again!  While there is a break in the work (please note, most of the cabinet doors are currently being refinished, and cabinets are off the wall---*everything* is in disaray at the moment!), I snuck into the kitchen to try out two recipes that I have been looking forward to making; Brawn en Peuerade, and  Auter Brawn en Peuerade.

It is important to understand the meaning of the naming of this recipe, and why I would choose to call it "Meat (pork) in Pepper Sauce".  The Online Etymology Dictionary offers this definition for the word "Brawn". I used "meat" in the original sense, and chose pork because I did not have access to wild boar.  
brawn (n.) -late 13c., from Old French braon "fleshy or muscular part, buttock," from Frankish *brado "ham, roast" or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *bred-on- (cognates: Old High German brato "tender meat," German Braten "roast," Old Norse brað "raw meat," Old English bræd "flesh"), from PIE *bhre- "burn, heat," from root *bhreuə- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn" (see brew (v.)). The original sense is "piece of meat suitable for roasting." "The specific sense 'boar's flesh' is exclusively of English development and characteristic of English habits" [OED].
Wild boars are native to Europe, Africa and Asia, and there is some controversy as to which region first domesticated them. Evidence suggests that they were domesticated approximately the same time in Europe and Asia.  Domestication of wild pigs, started in the early Neolithic period, and was domesticated in at least six independent geographic regions.

Once introduced into England, the Roman's had begun selectively breeding animals to produce larger stock.  The Romans developed two main types of pigs, one which was bred to produce a large amount of fat (lard), and another that was bred and used primarily for meat.  However, the Roman practice of selectively breeding declined with the ebbing of the Empire.  Medieval pigs were much smaller then modern pigs, approximately 1/3rd of the size.

The original source of the recipe 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

^xxxj. Brawn en Peuerade. — Take Wyne an powder Canel, and draw it J'orw a straynour, an sette it on pe fyre,* and lette it boyle, an caste ]7er-to Clowes, Maces, an powder Pepyr ; ]?an take smale Oynonys al hole, an par-boyle hem in hot watere, an caste )>er-to, and let hem boyle to-gederys; ]?an take Brawn, an lesshe it, but nowt to ):'inne. An jif it sowsyd be, lete it stepe a whyle in hot water tyl it be tendere, fan caste it to ]?e Sirip ; Jjen take Sawnderys, an Yynegre, an caste )>er-to, an lete it boyle alle to-gederys tyl it be y-now ; fen take Gyngere, an caste J'er-to, an so serue forth ; but late it be nowt to l^ikke ne to J'inne, but as potage shulde be.

A much "cleaner" looking version of this recipe can be found at Dan Myer's "Medieval Cookery" site by clicking on the link below.

Brawne in peuard. (Note: Braune en peueruade, D) Take wyn, pouder of Canell, drawe hit thorgh a Streynour, set hit ouer the fire, lete hit boile, caste there-to Maces,cloues, powder of Peper; take smale onyons hole, parboyle hem, caste there-to; lete hem boile togider; then take Brawne, leche hit, but not to thin; And if hit be saused, let stepe hit in Hote water til hit be tender, then cast hit into the siripe; take Saundres, Vynegre, and caste there-to, And lete boile al togidre til hit be ynowe; then take powder of ginger, caste thereto; lete hit not be thik ne to thyn, butte as potage shulde be; And serve hit forthe.

31. Brawn en Peverade. Take wine and powder of cinnamon, and draw it through a strainer, and set it on the fire, and let it boil and caste there-to cloves, maces, and powder pepper: then take small onions all whole, and parboil them in hot water, and caste there-to, and let them boil together: than take brawn, and slice it but not too thin. And if it soused (pickled) be, let it steep a while in in hot water till it be tender, than cast it to the syrup; then take saunders, and vinegar, and cast there-to, and let it boil all together till it be enough; then take ginger, and caste there-to, an so serve forth; but let be not to thick nor to thin, but as pottage should be.

Interpreted Recipe                                                     Serves 1 as Main, 2 as Side

1 c. wine (I  used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/8 tsp. mace
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup pearl onions
1/4 pound of cooked, sliced pork (I used tenderloin)
1-2 tsp. saunders
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. ginger

Boil the onions in water for approximately five minutes, drain the water from the onions and set aside until later.  In the meantime, bring the wine, cinnamon, cloves and saunders to a simmer and allow to simmer for five minutes.  The saunders will impart a ruddy color to the wine.  Strain the wine into the pan with the onions and add the pork, mace and pepper.  Bring to a boil and cook until the pork is tender.  Approximately five minutes before you are ready to serve, add the ginger. 

This was delicious! The wine, spices, and the piquant taste of the vinegar became something magical with the pork. I have to confess, I don't particularly care for the taste of pork, but I did enjoy this.  The pepper added just the right of spice to this dish, and I'm glad that I added more than I would have normally.  My taste testers this time consisted of a non-SCA teen, and the workmen.  The bowl came back empty, and I'm pretty positive somebody drank down the red wine pepper sauce.  

This would be an excellent dish to serve at any banquet or SCA luncheon. It could be made soupier by adding a touch of broth, or more wine, or less soupy by cutting down on the amount of liquid that you use. 

Definitely on the must serve again list!