Mortrews of Pork & Chicken and Mortrews of Fish - Baronial 12th Night Recipes


Delicious appetizers on the table featuring black olives, let lardes, capers, mortrews of pork & chicken, green olives, caperberries and mortrews of fish

Mortrews of Pork & Chicken and Mortrews of Fish - an early form of pate Harl. MS 279, 1430


I did make a few changes from the original post (Mortrews of Chicken & Pork and Fish). In deference to modern tastes I added additional spicing to both of the Mortrews, and smoked the fish for the Mortrews of fish. Lastly I subbed broth for the ale in the Mortrews of pork and chicken, and whole milk for the almond milk in the Mortrews of Fish.

.xliiij. Mortrewys de Fleyssh.—Take Porke, an seþe it wyl; þanne take it vppe and pulle a-way þe Swerde,*. [Rind, skin. ] an pyke owt þe bonys, an hakke it and grynd it smal; þenne take þe sylf brothe, & temper it with ale; þen take fayre gratyd brede, & do þer-to, an seþe it, an coloure it with Saffroun, & lye it with ȝolkys of eyroun, & make it euen Salt, & caste pouder Gyngere, a-bouyn on þe dysshe.

xliiij - Mortrewys de Fleyssh. Take Porke, an sethe it wyl; thanne take it vppe and pulle a-way the Swerde, (Note: Rind, skin) an pyke owt the bonys, an hakke it and grynd it smal; thenne take the sylf brothe, and temper it with ale; then take fayre gratyd brede, and do ther-to, an sethe it, an coloure it with Saffroun, and lye it with 3olkys of eyroun, and make it euen Salt, and caste pouder Gyngere, a-bouyn on the dysshe.

44. Mortrews of Flesh - Take pork, and cook it well; then take it up and pull away the skin, and pick out the bones and hack it and grind it small; then take the self broth (the same broth you cooked it in, and temper it with ale; then take fair grated bread, and do thereto, and cook it, and color it with saffron, and mix it with yolks of eggs, and make it even salt, and caste powder ginger, above on the dish.

Mortrews of Pork and Chicken

2 ½ pounds pork shoulder
1 pound bone in, skin on chicken (I used chicken leg quarters)
½ pound bacon ends and pieces
Pinch of Saffron
1 tbsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. ground mustard
¾ tsp. ground pepper
½ tsp. fine spices
1/3 cup broth
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
Opt. ½ tsp. fresh thyme

Dried Cherries to decorate

Boil chicken, pork and bacon together with just enough broth to cover until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool overnight. Remove meat from the broth and set broth aside to reserve for later. Clean the meat being sure to pick off skin, bones, fat and gristle. Place meat into a blender and grind coarsely, adding broth if needed.

Please note: the boiled bacon is not that appetizing when cold, so feel free to remove it as well-- I did!


After meat has been ground add spices and place into a pot. Beat eggs and pour over bread crumbs, add enough broth to make bread wet and blend the egg and bread mixture until it becomes a smooth past. Add bread mixture to the meat, and cook, stirring constantly until it thickens into custard like consistency. Put into molds and serve. Optional, decorate with thyme and dried cherries.

How to Brine Fish

1 quart water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp. sugar or brown sugar

Mix together water, salt and sugar. You can add additional flavorings or spices if you choose at this point. Add meat making sure that the meat is covered completely with the brine. Soak for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight. For every pound of meat, you will need 1 quart of brine.

How to Smoke Fish

Smoked fish is delicious and I wanted to smoke the fish in the Mortrews of Fish because while delicious, the dish is a bit bland. I used cherry wood to smoke the fish, but you could also use alder, apple or any sweet, mild wood. There are two methods to smoke food; cold smoking and hot smoking.

Cold smoking is done at temperatures below 130 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours to several days. This adds smoke flavoring to your food but does not cook it. Also note--this does put your food into the "danger zone" for food safety and can create an environment for harmful bacteria (botulism and listeria) to rapidly grow. I cannot stress enough how careful you must be when cold smoking. I recognize that many people do it successfully (I do), but I would not use this method for an event.


Interesting fact-- Botulus (from which we derive botulism) is the Latin word for...sausage...hmmmsss

This is why I chose to hot smoke the fish for the event. Hot smoking not only imparts flavor it cooks and dries the food as well, which is why it is important to *brine* your food before smoking. Even after brining my poor fish was more like fish jerky then the delicate flakes I wanted. BUT--easily worked with by soaking overnight in stock, and being mixed 50/50 with unsmoked fish. I digress.

Fattier fish are better for smoking, whole fish or skin on fish before skinless, boneless fillets. Remember this. You will want to brine your fish at a minimum of 15 minutes per pound before smoking. Also, you might want to soak some of the wood that you are using for smoking and heat the smoker a bit with it before adding your fish. I used an electric smoker and fell in love. It is now on my wish list, but any smoker will work (even your oven if you are in a pinch). Some sights recommend heating the fish at approximately 150 degrees for two hours and then turning the temperature up to 200 degrees to complete the process. I went full in at 200 degrees and the cod had PLENTY of flavor.

.xliij. Mortrewes of Fysshe.—Take Gornard or Congere, a-fore þe navel wyth þe grece (for be-hynde þe navel he is hery*. [Hairy. ] of bonys), or Codlyng, þe lyuer an þe Spaune, an sethe it y-now in fayre Water, and pyke owt þe bonys, and grynde þe fysshe in a Morter, an temper it vp wyth Almaunde Mylke, an caste þer-to gratyd brede; þan take yt vp, an put it on a fayre potte, an let boyle; þan caste þer-to Sugre and Salt, an serue it forth as other Mortrewys. And loke þat þow caste Gyngere y-now a-boue.

xliij - Mortrewes of Fysshe. Take Gornard or Congere, a-fore the navel wyth the grece (for be-hynde the navel he is hery (Note: Hairy) of bonys), or Codlyng, the lyuer an the Spaune, an sethe it y-now in fayre Water, and pyke owt the bonys, and grynde the fysshe in a Morter, an temper it vp wyth Almaunde Mylke, an caste ther-to gratyd brede; than take yt vp, an put it on a fayre potte, an let boyle; than caste ther-to Sugre and Salt, an serue it forth as other Mortrewys. And loke that thow caste Gyngere y-now a-boue.

43 - Mortrews of Fish - Take gurnard, or conger (eel), before the navel with the grease (for behind the navel he is hairy of bones), or codling (an inferior for of cod), the liver and the eggs, and cook it enough in fair water, and pick out the bones, and grind the fish in a mortar, and temper it up with almond milk, and cast there-to grated bread; then take it up and put it on a fair pot, and let boil; then cast thereto sugar and salt, and serve it fort as other motrews. And look that you caste ginger enough above.


Motrews of Fish

2-3 pounds smoked fish (I used cod)
1 1/2 cups whole milk (can sub creme fraiche or sour cream)
2 cups fish stock (can sub chicken or pork broth)
1/2 to 1 cup bread crumbs
1 ½ tbsp. salt
3/4 tbsp. sugar
Opt. Garnish with vinegar and boiled shrimps, 1 tbsp. tarragon, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Once again I used frozen cod (almost all fish we get are frozen or prohibitively expensive if fresh). I brined the fish I was smoking overnight, then dried it off and put it in the smoker for approximately an hour and a half to two hours. The thinner parts of the fish were, as stated previously, like fish jerky. I soaked the fish in broth overnight. The next day I boiled the remainder of the fish and coarsely ground the two together. Returned to the pot, added the bread crumbs, salt, sugar, tarragon, lemon juice and ground pepper and the milk and cooked till thickened.

When serving I garnished with boiled shrimps.

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