Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye - Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce

.lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye - Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce
This dish is unusual and distinguishes itself from other similar dishes found in 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. The first difference is the use of the garlic in the sauce. It is one of a handful of recipes in the book that calls for it. Secondly, this is one of the few dishes that I believe could be served either as a soup or as a dish of meat with a sauce--that could be me putting modern thought into this dish.

Garlic is a member of the same plant family as onions and like onions, its cultivation is so old as to make its origins unknown. Garlic has been found in Egyptian temples, and it has a long history of medical, not culinary usage. Hippocrates and Dioscurides recommend garlic as a way to treat parasites, respiratory conditions and poor digestion.

Some other items of note in my quick research of garlic and its usage. According to ancient Egyptian records, slaves were given garlic to ward off illness. Pyramid builders were given beer, flatbread, onions and garlic. During the reign of King Tut a healthy male slave could be purchased for fifteen pounds of garlic!

Garlic was placed on piles of stones at crossroads for Hecate, and to protect from demons. It was believes that garlic would cause evil spirits to lose their way. Before going into battle, Greek soldiers would consume garlic as did Greek athletes before a competition. Roman soldiers also ate garlic; it was believed that consuming garlic would inspire them and give them courage.

Many European stories attribute the ability to ward of the "evil eye", the devil, or to protect from evil spirits to garlic. We all know that wearing garlic or hanging garlic in windows, doorways and chimneys will keep vampires away.

.lxxxx. Hennys in Gauncelye.—Take Hennys, an roste hem; take Mylke an Garleke, an grynd it, an do it in a panne, an hewe þin hennys þer-on with ȝolkys of eyron, an coloure it with Safroun an Mylke, an serue forth.

lxxxx - Hennys in Gauncelye. Take Hennys, an roste hem; take Mylke an Garleke, an grynd it, an do it in a panne, an hewe thin hennys ther-on with 3olkys of eyron, an coloure it with Safroun an Mylke, an serue forth.

90 - Hen in Gauncelye - Take hens and roast them; take milk and garlic and grind it, and do it in a pan, and chop your hens there-on with yolks of egg, and color it with saffron and milk and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                          Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1/4 pound of chicken (I used chicken breast that I had simmered)
1 cup milk, cream or half and half
2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 egg, or 2 egg yolks
pinch of saffron
Salt and Pepper to taste

I say this phrase a lot, it couldn't have been simpler to put this together. I used a double boiler to heat the milk to a simmer along with the saffron, garlic salt and pepper. Once it was heated I tempered the egg yolks with a bit of the garlic cream and then continued to heat the sauce until it began to thicken. I added my precooked chicken to the sauce and continued to cook a few moments more.

Do not be hesitant with the garlic. I know it sounds like quite a bit, but the cream tempers it quite a bit. I had originally made this with 1 clove, afraid that I would keep away family members and vampires alike. It was ok, but amping up the garlic made the dish.

This could be served as a creamy soup, or, as a sauce on the side of a dish of chicken and therefore as a dish of meat served with a broth as opposed to a dish of meat served with a sauce. This makes the dish very versatile about where it can fit in the menu.

The taste testers and I both enjoyed this dish. I would serve this at a luncheon, a lunch tavern, or even at a feast. It has gone into my "must serve again" list.

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Du fait de cuisine (France, 1420 - Elizabeth Cook, trans.)

46. Now it remains to be known with what sauce one should eat the pilgrim capons: the pilgrim capons should be eaten with the jance, and to advise the sauce-maker who should make it take good almonds and blanch and clean them very well and bray them very well; and take the inside of white bread according to the quantity which he needs, and let him have the best white wine which he can get in which he should put his bread to soak, and with verjuice; and when his almonds are well brayed put in a little garlic to bray with them; and take white ginger and grains of paradise according to the quantity of sauce which he needs, and strain all this together and draw it up with the said white wine and a little verjuice and salt also, and put it to boil in a fair and clean pot.

And if the staffs are lampreys make lamprey sauce in the manner which is devised above under lamprey pasty.

And if they are eels, green garlic made with sorrel and verjuice.

Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334]
(England, 1425)

Gaunsell Gaunsell for gese. Take floure, and tempur hit with gode cowe mylke, and make hit thynne, and colour hit with saffron; and take garlek, and stamp hit, and do therto, and boyle hit, and serve hit fbrthe.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak hennes in gauncelle tak and rost your hennes then tak garlik and mold it with mylk and put it in a pan then hew your henne and put ther to and mele it withyolks of eggs and colour it with saffron and boile it well and serue it.

Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (Netherlands, ca. 1510 - C. van Tets, trans.)

To make a ganselsie outside fasting time. Take bread, garlic, raw egg yolks and saffron. One shall grind this all together and pass it through a strainer with wine or with sweet milk and one simmers it over the fire until it is thick. With this one serves fried/roast chicken; in the winter, goose or capons.