Friday, December 7, 2007

Cold Weather Dishes - ROTW 8

Originally posted 6 October, 2007

The weather has turned, today was gloriously cool and gray and damp, and I am inspired. Autumn is my favorite time of year; I feel more alive when the sun diffuses through the clouds and there's moisture in the air than any other time. Weather reports tout sunny days, I groan and go back to sleep. I hear rain, smell damp grass, catch a bracing but not too cold breeze and I'm outside, sometimes just standing there with my head back, enjoying it.
Then I come in wet, chilled, and hungry. :)

Payn Purdew
From: Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)
Payn pur-dew. Take fayre yolks of Eyroun, & trye hem fro the whyte, & draw hem throw a straynoure, & take Salt and caste ther-to; than take fayre brede, & kytte it as trounde rounde; than take fayre Boter that is claryfiyd, or ellys fayre Freysshe grece, & putte it on a potte, & make it hote; than take & wete wyl thin trounde in the olkys, & putte hem in the panne, an so frye hem vppe; but ware of cleuyng to the panne; & whan it is fryid, ley hem on a dysshe, & ley Sugre y-nowe ther-on, & thanne serue it forth.
Take fair yolks of eggs and separate them from the white and draw them through a strainer, and take salt and cast thereto; then take fair bread and cut it as a round slice; then take fair butter that is clarified or else fair fresh grease and put it in a pot and make it hot; then take and wet well the slices in the yolks and put them in the pan and so fry them up; but be careful of cleaving (sticking) to the pan, and when it is fried lay them on a dish and lay sugar enough thereon and then serve it forth.

This one's fun. I once had my entire collection of campmates shielding me from view lest someone want a herald while I was cooking them all payn purdew for breakfast.

Three egg yolks do two slices of slightly stale bread. Or if you use a biscuit cutter and get two rounds per slice, three yolks do four rounds. Beat the yolks up well and toss in a pinch of salt. Melt butter in a heavy skillet, being careful not to brown it. Dip the bread in the egg yolks like you do for french toast (plop in on one side, flip, make sure both sides are wetted) and then lay them in the pan. You can tip the slices up and check for brownness several times without harming the finished product. Keep extra butter nearby to replenish what's in the skillet, as the bread will soak up some of it. Serve with powdered sugar.

Beef y-Stywyd
From Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)
Take fayre beef of the rybbys of the fore quarterys, an smyte in fayre pecys, an wasche the beef in-to a fayre potte; than take the water that the beef was sothin yn, an strayne it thorw a straynowr, an sethe the same water and beef in a potte, an let hem boyle to-gederys; than take canel, clowes, maces, graynys of parise, quibibes, and oynons y-mynced, perceli, an sawge, an caste ther-to, an let hem boyle to-gederys; an than take a lof of brede, an stepe it with brothe an venegre, an than draw it thorw a straynoure, and let it be stylle; an whan it is nere y-now, caste the lycour ther-to, but nowt to moche, an than let boyle onys, an cast safroun ther-to a quantyte; than take salt an venegre, and cast ther-to, an loke that it be poynaunt y-now, and serue forth.
Take good beef of the ribs or forequarters and smite in good pieces and wash (put water over) the beef into a clean pot; then take the water that the beef was boiled in and strain it through a strainer and cook the same water and beef in a pot and let them boil together; then take cinnamon, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, cubebs and minced onions, parsley and sage, and cast thereto and let them boil together, and then take a loaf of bread and steep it with broth and vinegar and then draw it through a strainer and let it be still, and when it is nearly done cast the liquor thereto, but not too much, and then let it boil once and cast saffron thereto a quantity (decent amount); then take salt and vinegar and cast thereto, and look that it be poignant enough and serve forth.
I've not made this recently, nor nearly often enough. Here's a ballpark of how I've done it - feel free to play with proportions to suit your tastes.

2 pounds beef shoulder steak or roast
plenty of water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp grains of paradise
1/2 tsp cubebs
1 medium onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I like parsley, you might wish less)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp dried ground sage
6 slices whole wheat bread
3 Tbsp wine vinegar
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
1/4 tsp saffron (or two generous pinches)
salt to taste

Cube the beef, put in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Let cool until it stops boiling and then skim to remove whatever's on top of the water. Add spices, onions and herbs and bring to a second boil, reduce heat and simmer. Shred the bread and soak it in the vinegar and broth until it falls apart (if more liquid is needed, dip it from the beef). Run it through a strainer and add to the simmering beef. Drop in saffron and bring the mixture to a slow boil for a couple of minutes, stirring once or twice until it thickens. Salt to taste.

This is superb with fresh-baked breadsticks, rolls, whatever. The vinegar is odd to modern tastes at first, but it really adds something. I served it with breadsticks and my husband ended up dipping them because the bread-thickened broth sticks to them nicely. You can also do this is the crock pot. Rinse the beef cubes, drain, put in crock pot with barely enough water to cover them and the spices. Cook for 4 hours then stir in onion and parsley and saffron and cook another 2. Soak the bread in broth and wine and heat in a separate saucepan, stirring until thickened. Mix into the beef and serve.

From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books
Take faire Cabochis, pike hem and wassh hem, and parboyle hem; then presse oute the water on a faire borde, choppe hem, and cast hem in a faire potte with goode fressh broth and with Mary-bones, And lette hem boyle; then take faire grate brede, and cast there-to, saferon, salt, and lete boyle ynogh, And then serue hit forth.
Take good cabbages, pick them and wash them and parboil them, then press out the water on a clean board, chop them and cast them in a clean pot with good fresh broth and with marrow bones. And let them boil; then take good grated bread and cast thereto, saffron, salt, and let boil enough. And then serve it forth.
I have one from Das Buch von Guter Spise I prefer, but this one's good as well.

The dense-packed cabbages we use for cole slaw seem unlikely for this recipe, though I've seen green ones in late period art. For this, I like savoy cabbage. For each cabbage you'll need about three cups of broth and one marrow bone (most grocery stores have them, if not in the cooler, ask), a quarter to half teaspoon of saffron (here it's for flavor more than color), and a couple of slices of dried bread made into crumbs.

Pick off the outer leaves, wash the cabbages, and drop into boiling water for half a minute. Take them out and drain them, discard the water. Chop the cabbage into manageable sized pieces and put into the pot with the broth. Sink the marrow bone(s) into the liquid and bring to a leisurely boil over medium high heat. When the liquid's rolling well, add the saffron and bread crumbs, stir it up well, then salt to taste. Turn off the heat and let the liquid go still, fish out the bone(s), and serve.

My husband thinks this is excellent alongside "anything with cheese in it".