Yep, we actually did some real interpretation work over the last weekend......not to demean what we normally do, but this was genuinely new ground.
We worked on several recipes we've never done before, all from the Pynsons 'The boke of cokery'. I've put a load of pictures up on Flickr that illustrate this recipe...
¶For to make Chekyns in sauce.
¶To make Chekyns in sauce / take chekyns and choppe theym for commons / but for a lorde take hole chekyns and boyle theym in swete brothe of beef with a quantyte of wyne / and whan they be nygh ynough take oute the chekyns and bete egges in a morter with sage and percely and alay it with wyne & drawe it through a streyner & put therto pouder of clowes an unce of suger an unce of canelle / & a lytell vynegre & colour it with saffron and salte it than couche the chekyns in dishes and put the syrupe aboue and serue it.
....you can pop there to see them a little larger than they are here in the blog.
Having 'forced' Robert to write out the recipe
Jorge and Robin could then crack on with working out how to cook it leaving me to take the recording pictures (as always when I post Roberts pictures you'll spot that they are worlds apart from my 'snappy camera' images)
¶To make Chekyns in sauce / take chekyns and choppe theym for commons / but for a lorde take hole chekyns and boyle theym in swete brothe of beef with a quantyte of wyne / and whan they be nygh ynough take oute the chekyns
Given that this really was the first time that we'd cooked the recipe a halfway house was agreed on the quantity of chicken to use, so half a chicken left in one piece was duly plopped into a 9 inch skillet containing a mixture of beef broth and white wine.....why white and not red? It was all we had to hand!
and bete egges in a morter with sage and percely and alay it with wyne & drawe it through a streyner & put therto pouder of clowes an unce of suger an unce of canelle / & a lytell vynegre & colour it with saffron and salte it
At first we rushed off to weigh out the sugar and cassia as it says in the recipe....one ounce of each were then duly ground into a nice fine powder..
but after Jorge went through all the effort of grinding the cassia bark into a nice fine powder it sort of struck us.....what's the point in having quantities for the spices when there aren't any for any other ingredients!!
How many chickens is the recipe for? If it's for one chicken then that's a hell of a lot of cassia.....what if it's 5 chickens? So at that point we were sort of stumped and opted to add equal quantities of each in an amount that would seem suitable to flavour but not destroy the dish.
So all the other ingredients went into the mortar for grinding
then the sauce was completed and another 'problem' arose....was it cooked or not?
The taste was pretty good, very 'complex' but the texture was a bit thin and weedy...to be honest it felt in the mouth like it either needed cooking or an awful lot more egg yolk in it. Robin's idea was to pour it directly onto the chicken as soon as it came out of the stock and wine mix, to see if there was enough heat in it to cook off the egg....so we gave that a go..
As you can probably see in this close up
it didn't make a lot of difference....although it must be said that the sauce that stayed on the actual chicken itself did thicken up.....slightly.....well very slightly actually. Had we made more of the sauce, we could have tried cooking it separately first....but as Robin said that's not what the recipe calls for.....The question is though was that assumed by the writer or not?
What did it taste like I hear you ask.....difficult to describe really. The chicken tasted of chicken and beef, sort of and the sauce......hmmmm very complicated...sweet, spiced, sour from the vinegar...all in all probably not to my taste, but I reckon there's plenty more work to be done with this recipe.
Any how, that's enough for the moment....more along similar lines in the near future.....