chicken


This is one of the most common medieval dish that can be found in several sources. It has many different names like: blank maunger, blomanger, blomenschir, blanc mengier, manjar blanch, manjar braquo, bianco mengier.. As the name says it is a white dish. But that doesn’t mean it was always white. Some recipes call for spices like saffron which mean that the dish cannot be completely white. It can be parti-coloured too. Blancmange has regional differences like in Italy more spices were added into the dish and in France they used less sugar. Rice was not always used, but the rice flour and sometimes rosewater was used for example. There are also recipes for lenten version of this dish where chicken is replaced with white fish.

It might sound funny, but as long as I have been cooking medieval food, I have never ever made blancmange. I have always thought that it doesn’t taste so good that it is not worth of trying. Also my modern me has been said that chicken with sweet rice cannot be good. I was surprised how good it really was! It is weird but good.

Blancmange (serves 2-4)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume I

Take fair Almonds and blanch them, And grind them with sugar water into fair milk; and take rice and seethe. And when they are well seethed, take them up, and cast them to the almond milk, and let them boil together till they are thick; And then take the flesh of a Capon, and tease it small, And cast thereto; and then take Sugar and salt, and cast thereto, and serve it forth in manner or mortrews.

1 cooked chicken breast1

5 dl cooked white rice2

4 dl almond milk (see basic recipes up)

1 dl sugar

salt

(optional: bay leaves, whole peppers, whole cloves)

1Cooked chicken breast:

First cook chicken breast in water. I used bay leaves, whole peppers, whole cloves and salt because I wanted the chicken taste good. The spices that I used are kind of spices that doesn’t change the colour of the chicken. Put water and spices to boil. When water boils add chicken breast. Cook until the breast is done about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the meat. When meat is done discard the liquid and spices and chop the meat finely.

2Cooked rice:

Use white rice. Cook as the rice packet says until rice is cooked (15-20 minutes).

Blancmange:

Make almond milk and pour about 4 dl almond milk to a pot with cooked rice. Cook on slow heat about 20 minutes. Add more water or almond milk if needed. Add sugar, enough salt and chopped chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Decorate the dish with almonds and serve.

Comment: Recipe says that this dish should be served in manner of mortrews. Mortrews usually means kind of meat dish usually made in mortar and it can be like pate. This case mortrews means probably that the dish should be thick and very well cooked.

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Chykonys in bruette (serves 4)

Harleian MS. 279, Volume I

Take and Seethe Chickens, & smite them to gobbets; then take Pepper, Ginger, and Bread ground & mix it up with the same broth, and with Ale; and color it with Saffron, and seethe and serve forth.

4 chicken legs (1 chicken leg per person)

1-2 ale

water to cover the legs

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tespoons ginger

1 pinch of saffron

½ dl bread crumbs

salt

Put the chicken legs into a large pot and pour over them ale, and water so much that the chicken legs are covered. Add spices and cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken legs are properly cooked. Remove the chicken legs and take off the foam from the broth. Cut the legs and remove the bones. Add the breadcrumbs to the broth and cook it for a while, until the broth is somewhat thickened. Pour the broth to a sieve and crush bread crumbs through the sieve back to the broth. Taste and add more spices if necessary, and salt. Put the chicken pieces to the serving dish and pour the hot broth on top and serve.

Comments:

You can use the whole chicken with giblets if you desire. If you do so, chop the chicken into quarter. About 400 g chicken with the bones should be enough per person. I used legs because they are cheap and easy to get.

Sauge – Chicken with Sage Sauce (serves 4)

Harleian MS. 279, Volume I

Take Ginger, Galingale, Cloves & grind in a mortar; then take a handful of Sage & put thereto, grind well together; take Eggs & seethe them hard, take the yolks, grind them with Sage & with the spices & mix it up with Vinegar or wine vinegar or with Ale vinegar, take the white of the Egg & seethe them & mince them small & cast thereto; when it is mixed, take Flesh of hens or Fishes & lay on dishes & cast thine meat above.

My Thoughts:

Enough chicken for four people made as you wish. For example 4 roasted chicken legs.

Sauce

3 hard boiled eggs

1 teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon galingale

½ teaspoon cloves

½ dl fresh sage leaves

3 tablespoon wine vinegar

(salt)

Chop sage leaves finely and mix together well all ingredients. Add salt if needed. Serve cold with the chicken. That’s very easy ;).

Comments:

I made simple roasted chicken legs in oven and used only salt and black pepper to season the legs. I have seen this sauce recipe many times and I have wanted to try it a long time. I don’t remember that I have tasted this sauce before. This is maybe one of the best medieval sauce recipe I have seen and tasted this far!! I am sure that I will do it again someday. It will be good sauce for example white fish and pork.