rice


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.

I wanted to make something to go with the beef stew. This pottage of rice, or rice porridge, was nice surprise. It tasted very good!

Pottage of Rice (serves 4)

Laud MS. 553, Volume I

Take you rice, wash them clean, seethe them until it break; let them cool, put thereto almond milk, or of cow, color it with saffron, salt it & give forth.

My thoughts:

4 dl water

4 dl rice

2 dl milk

pinch of saffron

salt

Bring water to boil and add the rice and saffron to water. Stir and let boil for about 5 minutes. Add milk, stir and boil briefly. Remove from the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes with lid on until the rice is cooked and the liquid disappeared. Season it with salt.