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Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - .xvij. Garbage - Stewed Chicken Offal

I veered a bit off course recently from the recipes that I was planning on testing, and found myself with two roasting hens and giblets. This prompted me to try a dish from 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" by Thomas Austin. The dish is (appropriately) named garbage and it consists of those bits of the animal that most of us would not normally eat, but would end up in the garbage. I happen to like offal, the extremities and non-skeletal meat of animals, and was willing to give this recipe a try. I can say that it was not a favorite of the taste testers and they were very good sports about trying this.
As already mentioned, offal is any non-skeletal meat of an animal, this includes blood, brains, caul, ears, eyes, feet, giblets, heads, hearts, intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, marrow, spleen, sweetbreads, tails, testicles, tongues…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) -.xv. Bowres - Braised Fowl

This recipe came as a suprise! It was delicious and I am surprised that more people have not prepared it in the past.  I found it in "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. It can be intrepreted in two different ways.  I chose to use the second interpretation of this dish, duck or goose served as a soup with a broth made of ale, seasoned with sage and salt.  However it was the first interpretation that leads me to do some brief research on the use of offal in the middle ages.

Offal references those parts of an animal that are not skeletal muscle, for example, brain, heart, kidneys, livers and gizzards. It also refers to giblets, "humbles", "umbles", "numbles", and the extremities of an animal such as tails, feet, testicles, ears and tongue.  Offal is an excellent source of protein but it does not keep…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Quystis Scun - Pigeons Stewed

Today I cooked a 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 for a dish of pigeons stewed in a flavorful broth of beef, wine and vinegar seasoned with ginger and pepper. Unfortunately pigeon is difficult for me to come by in this area so I had to spend some time researching substitutes for game birds.  The suggested game bird from the "The Cook's Thesaurus" was Cornish hens, which are readily available in my area, but not even remotely period.  

This recipe most likely refers to the wood pigeon, also known as the ring dove, wood-quist or cushat. This is based on information obtained from Robert Nares "A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions to   Customs, Proverbs, etc. Which Have Been Thought to Require Illustration in The Works of English Authors, Particularly Shakespeare, and his Contempo…

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .l. A potage on fysshday - Sweet Curds and Whey

I came across an unusual 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 Thomas Austin called "A potage on fysshday".  I confess I was hesitant to try this dish because I was uncertain of what the final results would be.  I asked two chef friends of mine what they thought it should be like.  There was a general agreement that the acidic qualities of the ale and the wine would make this a kind of cheese, so all that remained was to try it.  I should know by now not to doubt those long ago chef's, as the final results were good. 
I would not recommend this dish for any large gathering of people but it would be a very cool and period thing to perhaps enter into an SCA competition, or to serve with a gathering of close friends, or even a small luncheon.  The result was a sweet broth made from the wine and the whey, with the curds of cheese (in …