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


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.


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.