The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Alinore's redaction-ALMODROTE QUE ES CAPIROTADA

After reading through the recipe about fifty times and discussing it with a coworker who raises chickens and is more familiar with the processing of birds from death to table, I decided to ignore the part about putting the chickens in the coals for a Paternoster. My coworker's theory is that portion of the recipe was used to clean off any stray hairs or other things from the skin.

I used a 3.5 lbs whole chicken for my redaction, I roasted it by cutting it up the backbone, then pushing it until the breast bone snapped and it lay flat on my baking sheet. I find that this method of roasting small chickens evens up the cooking time so that all parts of the bird are done at about the same time. I cooked it at 375 for about an hour, before placing it into the oven I salt and peppered both sides and rubbed it down with olive oil. I also made up a foil packet with two heads of garlic, one soft neck Californian grown garlic and one hard neck locally grown head. The garlic was drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted next to the chicken for about 45 minutes.

I have a theory about the bread for this recipe and that is that it was a way to use up hard day old bread. If you soaked fresh bread in broth, it would melt and get icky (technical term). So the day before I made a batch of Mistress Aramanthra's Egg bread. Then I sliced it into nice thick slices and let them sit out to dry out and get hard, before toasting them slowly in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes.

I was unable to find lamb or mutton stock in the store, so I used 1 can of beef broth and 1 can of chicken broth. To take away from the canned flavor of them, I went out to my herb garden and grabbed a handful of thyme, sage and chives and threw that into the pot with the stocks along with 3 peppercorns and some dried parsley. I brought that to a simmer and let the herbs flavor the broth for about 20 minutes before straining them out.

To assemble the dish, I brought the broth up to a simmer and then ladled about 3-4 ladles full of broth over the toast which I had placed into a roasting pan. The chicken was sliced and a mixture of dark and white meat was placed onto the toasts. For the sauce I put all the roasted garlic into my food processor, then I added 4 oz. of chevre, 4 tablespoons of parmesan, and 4 egg yolks. I processed this until it was smooth, then drizzled in two cups of stock to temper the egg yolks. I poured this mixture into what was left of the stock, and stirred it over med-high heat until it had reduced by half and formed a smooth silky sauce. I poured it over the toasts and popped it into the oven to heat everything through.

I found that it tasted very nice. The bread was still quite crunchy and had a lovely texture, the chicken was juicy and the sauce wasn't overwhelming cheesy or overwhelming with garlic. All the flavors blended quite well. This dish even got the 3 year old approval of being yummy. It was a lot of steps, so I don't know if I'll make it again at home just casually, but I can definitely see using it for a feast or making something similar to use up some left overs. My one complaint is that visually, it's very yellow. There isn't a lot of color to add interest. I don't know if that's a modern view, but if I was making it again I'd probably stir some finely chopped chives or parsley into the sauce to add some visual interest to the dish.

2 comments:

Merouda said...

Yay! Another person adds her version! I enjoy seeing everyone's different interpretation.

You've verbalized some of my concerns, too: it's a lot of steps for what is really a fairly simple dish. I suppose we could probably shorten the steps by using stuffing croûtons & frozen chicken breasts, possibly even pre-roasted garlic sauces such as can be occasionally found for making garlic mashed potatoes in the spice aisle.

::shrug:: I don't know if I'll test that theory, though.

I did note the yellow thing, too, which is why I did the sprouts with it and plated the meal on a blue plate. It needs some color for visual appeal, because that's really a part of the taste. IMO. :-)

Alinore said...

It's funny that you mentioned the croûtons, because that was something that I had thought about if doing it for a feast. Making smaller croûtons out of bread and doing individual portions of this dish in muffin tins. Another thing that I would probably do for a feast is that instead of roasting a whole chicken, I would use a mixture of 3/4 chicken thighs and 1/4 breasts, shredding the meat together to get a good mixture to put on top of the croûtons. The only change to the sauce would be to perhaps add a bit more Parmesan and something to add some color to the dish so it isn't as overwhelmingly yellow.