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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

March Recipe: A Pie of Parsnips

Haue millons at Mi[c]helmas, parseps in lent:
In June, buttred beanes, saueth fish to be spent.
With those and good pottage, inough hauing than:
thou winnest the heart, of thy laboring man.

Greetings from Merouda, guesting as the recipe-picker this month.

As some of you know, I am very interested in persona pursuits. Something I have been doing recently to help me understand the seasonality of one's life in period is perform some little task or another as mentioned in Thomas Tusser's Hundred Points of Husbandry, a poetic guide to good farming practice written near the end of period (first published about 1557). For the cook-a-long, I thought it might be fun to do a little something in line with this guide. I also wanted to choose a side dish, as we haven't really done that yet, and I wanted to choose a recipe that did not involve the usual poudre douce-type seasonings.

The above passage, from the "March" section of Tusser's work, suggests our recipe, with its instructions to serve parsnips in Lent.

My desire to do something a little different with the spices led me to this recipe:

To make a pie of fresh Parsnips. Take the parsnips well washed, & put them to boil until they are cooked, then take two or three chopped onions & fry in butter, a salted lemon in pieces, nutmeg, & pepper, a little chopped mint, & put all together in the pie, & butter enough.

Note it is necessary to cut the parsnips into pieces, when the pie is half cooked put therein a little Spanish wine.

This is from Ouverture de Cuisine, published in France, in 1604 (the translation is at Medieval Cookery). While the publication of the book is slightly post period, the recipes shared by this French master cook were developed in the course of his career--in the late 1500's.

I can think of several different ways I might like to try this, and I am very excited to see what you come up with!


Liz said...

Oh that looks like a fun dish. Thank you! I can hardly wait to give it a try!

relativelylucid said...

The salted lemons might be interesting

Eliane said...

Oooh...I love parsnips, I may have to try this.

Does anyone know if Moroccan salt-preserved lemons would work? They are available at Amazon. Or would it be better to use fresh lemons and simply salt them? Or brine them?

ecb said...

Elaine, the one redacted version of this does use the Morrocan salted lemons. There are a bunch of recipes for salted lemons on the internet, too; I'm salting my own. :-)