Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Brwes in lentyn - Broth in Lent

Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430) - Brwes in lentyn - Broth in Lent 
I hope the holiday season has blessed everyone and that the New Year will bring a years' worth of health, wealth and happiness to you, but most importantly, time for you to share with others. Of course I had to try something with wine in it! Today I tried a rather interesting recipe from the "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", which roughly interprets to a "Broth in Lent". I found it an interesting and delicious recipe and I would almost post this into the category of "found" recipes. Why? Most cooks who have prepared a feast will have some if not all of these ingredients left over, and with a bit of time could create this as an extra dish to serve at a meal. 

I think this would be an exceptionally forgiving recipe, for example, you could substitute broth for wine, and vary the spices. The taste testers and I put our heads together and even came up with some suggestions on how to serve it. My preference would be at the beginning of the meal with cheese pipes and a peppery arugula salad. Another suggestion was a side dish to be served with roasted beef and frumenty. Just a few thoughts to take into the new year with you :-)

Yes, this will definitely appear in a future feast---I better start putting in more bids I'm developing quite a list! Perhaps for next year I will start hosting small parties at my house, not only to share my passion with others, but to enjoy the company of good friends.

I have also hit a milestone with this post. I have interpreted or referenced approximately 57 of the 153 pottage recipes found in the Harleain MS 279. I am reaching the point where some of the ingredients are prohibitively expensive to make, or I can't get the ingredients for, or, are things I am not fond (like oysters!). I will continue to work on completing these recipes as best as I can.

.Cxlvij. Brwes in lentyn. — Take AVater & let boyle, and draw a Iyer ]7er-to of Brede, of j^e cromys, w/tA wyne y-now ; lete alle ben wyne almost ; j^en put Jjer-to hony a gode quantyte, l^at it may ben dowcet, j^an putte ponder Pcpir ]>er-to, Clowys, Maces, and Saunderys, & Salt, & skalde ]>m^ brewes tender, & serue f[orth].

Cxlvij - Brwes in lentyn. Take Water and let boyle, and draw a lyer ther-to of Brede, of the cromys, with wyne y-now; lete alle ben wyne almost; then put ther-to honey a gode quantyte, that it may ben dowcet, than putte pouder Pepir ther-to, Clowys, Maces, and Saunderys, and Salt, and skalde thin (Note: Thine) brewes tender, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

147. Brewes (broth) in lent - Take water and let boil and draw a mixture of bread, of the crumbs, with wine enough: let all be wine almost; then put there-to honey a good quantity, that it may be sweet, than put powder pepper there-to, cloves, mace, and sandalwood, and salt and scald your broth tender, and serve forth.

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

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup wine -I used a beautifully fruity red
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp.  mace
2 cloves
1-2 tsp. saunders (opt.)

Soak bread crumbs in wine.  Meanwhile, bring water to boil and stir in honey and spices. Let steep until desired color is reach. Add bread and wine mixture and stir until it has thickened. Strain before serving.

As is, this is a lovely thickened wine sauce or broth.  As I've stated previously, I think it is beautifully versatile for a modern day kitchen.  I added ginger to this in addition to the other spices. This would make a lovely royalty luncheon, or you could throw it together in a pinch as a camp meal as well.  I urge you to experiment with this.